Although the grander buildings of the nation have been studied and protected for a number of years,  it was not until the early 20th-century that serious consideration was given to the recording and protection of humbler buildings. The Vernacular Architecture Group (VAG) was formed in 1952 to further the study of traditional buildings, originally those of the British Isles. In recent years, its membership and publications have also reflected a growing interest in buildings from other parts of the world.

From the 1950s Jim and Muriel Tonkin, past presidents of the Woolhope Club, were interested in vernacular architecture firstly in their native Cornwall and then from the 1960s in Herefordshire. Jim was an