The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings was selected for its long term "supreme achievements". The jury said the Society's accomplishments were an example of how to protect heritage for future generations and that its influence on heritage policy and practice had been profound. The Society was founded by William Morris in 1877 as concern grew that the historic fabric of too many buildings was being lost.
Other UK winners include, The Poundstock Gildhouse in Bude, Cornwall, for its "meticulous" conservation work and use of traditional techniques and "Crossing cultures": Transforming the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, for its innovative approach to presenting history.
"Europe's cultural heritage is unique in the world. I would like to warmly congratulate this year's winners for reminding us of our wonderfully rich and varied heritage that we should never take for granted. It is in our trust for future generations," said Commissioner Vassiliou.
The awards highlight excellence in conservation, research, education, training and awareness-raising, as well as dedicated service by individuals and groups. They are supported by the European Commission's Culture Programme and Europa Nostra is in charge of organising the selection and the award ceremony.
Of the 28 EU winning projects, six will be named as 'grand prix' laureates as 2012’s most outstanding heritage achievements.
Awards will be presented on 1 June at a ceremony at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon which will be attended by Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and President of Europa Nostra and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
Commenting on the awards, Europa Nostra’s President, Plácido Domingo said:
"I am very pleased that the European Commission is once again Europa Nostra's partner in celebrating outstanding work in the field of cultural heritage. I also wish to congratulate the Commission for having confirmed its commitment to supporting our shared objectives through the proposed 'Creative Europe' programme."
He added: "European funding is vital: it boosts creativity and innovation, which helps us to bring our past alive and to safeguard our treasures for the future".