Nairita Chakraborty, Lady Jane Gibson, David Laing, Sir Jonathan Marsden and Robert Sackville-West have been appointed as Historic England Commissioners


Nairita Chakraborty

Nairita has over 16 years of experience in the field of heritage, urban landscape and design. She has experience in ensuring the sustainable use of historic buildings while delivering large-scale regeneration, housing and infrastructure projects. She has carried out significant work on the adaptation and conversion of large complex listed buildings, as well as town centre, public realm and conservation area programmes.

She recently created her own practice Revive and Tailor which focuses on integrating existing buildings into regeneration proposals in innovative and resourceful ways. Nairita is a member of the Historic England Advisory Board alongside the Design Review Boards of Havering and Kensington and Chelsea. She is a full member of the Royal Town Planners Institute and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

Lady Jane Gibson

After graduating with a degree in theater and English from the University of Hull in 1985, Jane worked in theatre, film, television, radio, the recording industry, marketing and public relations in London. During this time, she was the housekeeper of Doris Lessing, the novelist.

She moved to the North East in 1996 where she created Joined Up North, a consultancy firm specializing in strategic development, regeneration and territorial marketing through cultural, heritage and tourism projects.

After returning to her home county of Yorkshire in 2009, she now works in non-executive roles. Jane is chair of Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 legacy charity, founded by the National Lottery Community Fund in 2013 with an endowment of £47 million. She also chairs the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Partnership Council. She is a trustee of York & North Yorkshire LEP.

She was the founding president of Make It York, a destination management and business development company, and until recently chaired the Culture & Place strategic advisory group in Hull. She also served on the National Trust Yorkshire & North East regional committee until 2014.

David Laing

David’s experience is steeped in the built environment, heritage, culture, governance and ethics. He trained as an architect at UCL and worked with Sir Basil Spence before setting up a private practice and chairing a listed property development company. He fully restored the Level I House and Gardens at Mackerye End and then the historic 17th century house and park and garden at Fermyn Woods Hall.

He is Chairman and Director of major philanthropic charities as well as those supporting heritage, community, culture, the arts and the environment. In contrast, he led the development of Adrenaline Alley; Europe’s largest indoor skate/bmx park and home of Britain’s Olympic medalists. Charities have supported the restoration of the Royal Albert Hall, Coventry and other cathedrals, commissioned Denny Windows a bronze by Jim Butler at Barrow-in-Furness and a ballet for the Birmingham Royal Ballet.

He is Pro-Chancellor of the University of Northampton and was Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire from 2014-2020, seeking to develop awareness and interests in the county with its buildings/heritage/culture and economy. He has chaired academy trusts and was a trustee of one of the largest multi-academy trusts as well as St Andrew’s Healthcare.

Her 4th book of poems will be printed later this year!

Sir Jonathan Marsden KCVO, FSA

Jonathan Marsden was Director of the Royal Collection and Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art from 2010 to 2017, having served as Deputy Surveyor since 1996. Prior to that he worked for the National Trust for eleven years as a representative of the historic buildings in North Wales. and Oxfordshire. He has been a trustee of several arts and heritage organizations including Historic Royal Palaces, the Georgian Group, the Art Fund and the City & Guilds of London Art School. He has published and given numerous lectures on sculpture and the decorative arts and is the author of the forthcoming catalog of European sculpture in the royal collection.

Robert Sackville West

Robert Sackville-West was educated at Oxford University, where he studied history, and at the London Business School, before pursuing a career in publishing, creating illustrated books for an international market. As Executive Chairman of Knole Estates, the property and investment company which – alongside the National Trust – looks after Knole, he has experience in land management, planning, conservation management, listed buildings and public access. Since 2021, Robert has also chaired the Kent Community Foundation, which raises funds and distributes grants to some 400 voluntary charities in Kent. He has been involved in education in the private and public sector, as Governor of Sevenoaks School and Knole Academy, and as a former Director of the UK International Baccalaureate Board.

Robert has a keen interest in British history and is committed to communicating this interest. His experience at Knole led him to write two critically acclaimed books on aspects of English history: Inheritance (2010); and The Disinherited (2014). His most recent book, The Searchers (2021) has a broader scope. Telling the stories of Britain’s quest to recover, identify and honor fallen soldiers of the First World War, it addresses the lasting impact on British society of the First World War.

Historic England Commissioners are paid £4113.00 per annum. These appointments were made in accordance with the Cabinet Office Governance Code for Public Appointments. The appointment process is governed by the Public Appointments Commissioner. Under the Code, any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee within the past five years must be disclosed. This is defined to include holding office, speaking in public, making a recordable donation, or standing for election.

Nairita Chakraborty, David Laing, Sir Jonathan Marsden and Robert Sackville-West reported no activity.

Lady Gibson said she makes an annual donation to the Women’s Equality Party, although she does not attend local or national meetings.


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