In November 2022 Historic England published their annual survey of Heritage at Risk. This year there are 4,919 entries on the Heritage at Risk Register. This identifies the listed or scheduled sites that are most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay, or inappropriate development.Industrial archaeology and industrial heritage sites on this list include museums open to the public as well as privately owned buildings and monuments.
Three industrial sites have been saved from decay in the last 12 months and are no longer on the register: the Carriage Works, Bristol; lock and swingbridge on the Broadwater Estate, Greenwich; and the North Park furnace dam, Chichester.
Ten industrial heritage sites were newly added to the register in 2022: Alford Windmill, Lincolnshire; cementation furnace, Sheffield; coal drops, Sheldon; Cross-in-Hand Windmill, Bexhill; Elsecar Ironworks, Barnsley; Heage Windmill, Derbyshire (above); High Mill cornmill & foundry, Alston, Cumbria; Pakenham Windmill near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk; Papplewick Pumping Station, Nottinghamshire; and Rockingham Kiln in Rotherham.
The Association for Industrial Archaeology’s East-West series of workshops aims to exchange ideas and knowledge among Western and Eastern colleagues to build a more international and diverse industrial archaeology. They are organised jointly with the Institute for Cultural Heritage and History of Science & Technology (USTB, China), together with AIA’s Young Members Board.
The third workshop aims to strengthen diversity within industrial archaeology by promoting diversity in a wide sense, considering, among others, its gender, generational, cultural, ethnic, racial, and geographical dimensions. More weight is given on this occasion to the work of women in industrial archaeology (which aims to counterbalance the majority of male speakers in our previous meetings), and the workshop also includes a contribution from Pakistan for the first time in an international IA event.
Applications to take part in a unique fully-funded PhD research project to examine the links between art and industry in the West Midlands have opened this week with applications being welcomed from students across the world for the research project which will be based at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) and Birmingham City University.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Midland4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award, is a partnership between Birmingham City University and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The project, entitled ‘Common printed things: intersections of art and industry, the Coalbrookdale Collection, 1850–1930’ will use the extensive Coalbrookdale Collection at IGMT to illustrate the development of industrial life in the Midlands and the role of print in the manufacture and sale of the ironware items that made the company a household name the world over.
Highlighting the integral role that the Ironbridge Gorge played in the development of the Industrial Revolution, the successful applicant will have unique access to hundreds of historic documents, artefacts and business ledgers still housed in the Trusts archive at the Coalbrookdale Company’s original headquarters in Coalbrookdale.
The project will merge methods used by both printing and social historians to study not only the materials themselves but processes required to produce them as well as the craftspeople who made them to better understand the relationship between the manufacturer, the artefacts, the catalogues and the consumer.
Working with experts at sites across the Ironbridge Gorge over the course of 4 years the successful applicant will study and audit 40 original printed catalogues, the physical ironware products advertised within them, as well as over 1,000 wood engravings used to print the promotional materials in order to build a clearer picture of how they were produced.
Project supervisor Nick Booth, Collections and Learning Director at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust said: “Coalbrookdale and the extensive collection that is housed there offers a truly unique chance to delve into what is such an important part of our history, not only on a regional scale but a global one. The developments that happened within the Ironbridge Gorge and Coalbrookdale specifically were truly world changing and this research project offers the opportunity to unpick another integral piece of the puzzle to help us better understand the important role that print had in the wider industrial story.
“With ten sites across the Ironbridge Gorge, including Blists Hill Victorian Town which houses working facilities including our Victorian print shop, it means that as well as the academic side of the project, the researcher will be able to gain hands-on experience of the processes used during the period under realistic, historically accurate circumstances.”
The Award will be jointly supervised by Professor Caroline Archer-Parré, Co-Director of the Centre for Printing History and Culture (CPHC) at Birmingham City University who added: “This is a rare opportunity to research the materials and processes used to create the printed catalogues in the location in which they were originally manufactured, and to provide new insights into how the various industries involved in their creation interacted and collaborated.”
The SS Great Britian Trust is co-hosting the ‘Brunel: History, Conservation and Legacy’ conference on the 12th November 2022, organised by the Brunel Institute. This is the first major conference centred around I.K. Brunel and his legacy held since 2006.
This event is for transport and maritime historians and enthusiasts, engineers, researchers and anybody interested in architecture, design and the life and work of Brunel. Running from 9:30am to 5:00pm, it will feature contributions from Brunel historians, writers and engineers based around three themes:
New historical perspectives around the life and work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
The ongoing conservation of Brunel’s architectural and engineering legacy
Transforming Futures: Brunel’s engineering legacy in the 21st century and beyond
The event will be held in the Brunel Institute, a collaboration between the SS Great Britain Trust and the University of Bristol. The Institute houses one of the most important Brunel-related collections in the world.
Since 2009, the Association for Industrial Archaeology has been supporting the industrial heritage sector through its Restoration Grants scheme. The £116,000 distributed this year brings the total amount of grants made since the scheme started in 2009 to almost £1.2million. The AIA is incredibly proud to be able to support the preservation and promotion of industrial heritage in this way.
13 applications were received for 2022 and as in most previous years, transport-related projects predominated. The recipients of the major grants for this year were:
Kent and Sussex Railway: 1930s GWR railcar
Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre (Leicestershire): 1834 Robert Stephenson lifting railway bridge
Canal and River Trust: Butter Brothers derrick crane, Worcester
Black Country Living Museum: steam-powered narrowboat President
Worcester Locomotive Society: Kitson saddle tank locomotive, Carnarvon
In addition, small grants were made for restoration work at Wingfield Station, Derbyshire, and for the lifeboats on the Dundee lightship North Carr.
Did you hear the fascinating discussion about Industrial Heritage and its impact on Britain during Colin Murray’s BBC Radio 5 Live ‘Late Night Conversations’ programme broadcast from 12 midnight to 1am Monday 18th October 2022? If not, don’t worry as you have 30 days to catch up on BBC Sounds. The hour-long discussion, inspired by a listener’s suggested topic, brought together enthusiasts and experts to review, briefly, the industrial heritage and archaeology of Britain and Ireland. Colin was accompanied in this discussion and tour of British and Irish industrilisation by the Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England, Mike Nevell.
Pete Waterman, popular music entrepeneur and steam train enthusiast and owner, began the discussion with the continuing impact of the railways. Zoe Arthur of the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust and Vice Chair of the Association for Industrial Archaeology, talked about some of the key industrial sites in Wales from copper and canals to reservoirs and slate and the, sometimes, negative impact of these industries. Colin Rynne, of University College Cork, highlighted the island of Ireland’s important role in industrialisation and some of the key sites to visit including gin distilleries and the linen mills of Belfast. Miles Oglethorpe, of Historic Environment Scotland and Chair of the International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage, talked about coal, rail, and textiles in Scotland, and highlighted industrial heritage’s international links in terms of regenerating old buildings and improving local neighbourhoods, as well as helping to combat climate change by recycling old structures. Nigel Linge, professor of telecommunications at Salford University, looked at the importance of the railways in promoting the telegraph system during the mid-19th century, and the rise of the telephone box network during the early 20th century. He also pointed out how rapid technological change makes it very difficult to record the infrastructure of the mobile phone network.
Mike finished the discussion with a brief review of why the Ironbridge Gorge, and the museum trust of that name, are internationally important, being one of nine industrial world heritage sites in Britain (along with Blaenavon, Cornish tin mining, Derwent Valley Mills, the Forth Railway Bridge, New Lanark Mills, the Pontcycsillte aqueduct and canal, Saltaire mills, and Welsh Slate). Throughout the discussions there was an emphasis on people, the impact of new technology on people’s working and domestic lives, and the lasting landscape legacy of these industries.
Bookings are open for the Carbon Literacy for Industrial Heritage Museums course. West Midlands Museum Development (WMMD) and Museum Development East Midlands (MDEM) are partnering to deliver several rounds of training, using the Carbon Literacy for Museums Toolkit developed by Museum Development and the Carbon Literacy Trust as part of the national Roots and Branches project.
What is a Carbon Literacy course? The Carbon Literacy course will give you an understanding of what climate change is, the scale of its effects, and how museums fit into the global, national and local picture to address climate change. You become Carbon Literate by making an individual pledge, and an organisational pledge to take back to your museum, of what you can do, and is in your power to achieve, to make a significant difference to your carbon impact.
Please note that due to the project’s funding requirements from ACE priority for places will be given to museums who are Accredited or ‘Working Towards Accreditation’. If non-Accredited museums wish to attend then please contact Olvia Basterfield for details of available places at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The autumn round of online Industrial Heritage Network meetings starts this month (October) with the West Midlands Group. Further meetings in November and December will include the South West, East of England and Yorkshire IHNs. There will be four more IHN meetings in January and February 2023, completing the current cycle.
IHN members will have an opportunity to discuss the theme for this current round of IHN meetings – how the post-COVID lockdown recovery is impacting industrial heritage sites, large and small. Is it business ‘as usual’ or has the COVID pandemic led to permanent changes in the way sites and organisations deal with the public and staff? How is your site coping with any maintenance backlog, recruiting volunteers, and reaching out to schools? We are also gathering data on the strength of visitor numbers in 2022.
Individual members will be emailed details of the timings. If you would like your organisation to be involved with one of the 10 Industrial Heritage networks, then email the IHSO at: email@example.com
The SPAB Mills section is running an online event on the 18th and 19th November 2022, taking place on both Friday evening and Saturday morning. The focus will be on mill repair and the use of hydro-power. You can book either session or both: Friday only – £10, Saturday only – £20, Friday & Saturday – £25
The proposed withdrawal of core funding from Cornwall Council, announced in the summer of 2022, could threaten the future of the Royal Cornwall Museum. The museum, founded in 1818, holds a wide range of collections spanning 4,000 years of Cornwall’s history, including material and displays relating to the area’s rich mining heritage. Such a proposed cut from a key funder may be a sign of the potential impact of local authority cuts within the industrial heritage museum sector (and beyond), as councils battle rising inflation against tight budgets and legal requirements to support key services.
However, in an encouraging statement on the RCM’s website their Chief Executive Jonathan Morton stated that: “We are grateful to the delegation of senior officers from Cornwall Council for coming to the museum and allowing us to outline our situation, and to put forward our proposals for both a short term fix and a longer term solution. This meeting also allowed us to highlight the progress the museum has made over recent years and to reinforce the importance of the museum and its collections to the people of Cornwall.
We’ve been really encouraged by the response from Cornwall Council following the meeting, and both RCM and Cornwall Council have committed to continue to explore options, along with other partner organisations, to address the short and long term future of the museum, and will be undertaking further discussions in the coming days.”