Carlisle Castle

Picture credit: English Heritage Photo Library

English Heritage has been forced to apologise after wrongly ordering a man to hand over £100 to take a self-portrait in front of Carlisle Castle.

The climbdown comes nine months after English Heritage appeared to claim commercial rights over all images of historic tourist attraction Stonehenge.

The latest furore involved amateur photographer Robert Reid, 74, who had planned to send the picture of himself with his car, taken in the driveway of Carlisle Castle, to a car magazine.

Robert told local newspaper, the News & Star, that he had taken the picture last Sunday to mark his recent win of a cup at a Volvo Owners Club Rally.

But he said a security guard told him he needed permission and that he was trespassing on English Heritage property.

?I wasn?t moving,? he told the paper. ?I told her I?d done National Service with the Border Regiment in the Castle.?

He added: ?It?s ridiculous that a citizen of Carlisle can?t take a photo in front of the castle. I thought I was going to end up in the dungeon.?

Robert protested and was eventually allowed to proceed with his shot.

An English Heritage spokesman denied that Robert had been stopped by a ?security guard?, telling Amateur Photographer that the staff member was, in fact, part of the ?visitor operations team?.

He added: ?A staff member did incorrectly inform Mr Reid that he could not take a picture on site? It was a mistake. There was some confusion.

?We are sorry for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused.

?Members of the public are free to take pictures for personal use.?

However, the spokesman explained that commercial photographers must obtain prior permission for pictures taken for ?financial gain? and pay a ?small fee?.

English Heritage refused to say whether it has sent a personal apology to Robert, or if the staff member has been disciplined over the matter.

In a similar debacle, last October, English Heritage sent photographers an email banning commercial use of images of Stonehenge.

The storm centred on a message sent to picture agency fotoLibra which read: ‘We are sending you an email regarding images of Stonehenge on your fotoLibra website. Please be aware that any images of Stonehenge cannot be used for any commercial interest. All commercial interest to sell images must be directed to English Heritage.’

Following an outcry, English Heritage said it regretted ?confusion? caused by the email, adding: ?We do not control the copyright of all images of Stonehenge and have never tried to do so.?

It conceded that photographers were free to share images of Stonehenge on Flickr and similar not-for-profit image websites.

To read the News & Star article – and view the controversial image – click HERE