Taking the First Step: inaugural Industrial Heritage Network North East meeting

On the 6th November, many of the North East industrial heritage sites and organisations have taken their first step to create a robust network of support for their region. The first meeting of the new Industrial Heritage Network North East (IHNNE) took place at the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum (NELSAM) in Sunderland.

One of the many impressive collections at NELSAM

The agenda for the day included an update from the IHSO (Industrial Heritage Support Officer), a talk from our host, a presentation from the Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, interactive group session, site tour, some discussions and plenty of networking.

The schedule was tight and there were many areas to cover. Everyone had a lot to share and discuss as a group but unfortunately there is only so much, that is possible to address and go over in one day. Therefore, the bi-annual meetings are ‘instigators’ for further networking, discussions, and development of ideas. The purpose of the IHNNE, and the other Industrial Heritage Networks (IHNs) across England, is to offer peer to peer support throughout the year. The online communications platform will also be set up to help accommodate that.

The IHNs website has also been developed to improve communications, spread awareness and facilitate promotion of industrial heritage sites and organisations across the sector and the country.

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The IHNNE currently has 57 members representing 42 industrial heritage sites and organisations. The full list of members can be viewed on the IHNs website:


The Guidelines for the IHNs can also be downloaded from the website:


The Guidelines outline the purpose of the IHNs, explain how they operate and how sites and organisation can join across regions.

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The networks will be developed throughout England over 2019. Each network will be offered similar support from the IHSO. The support includes bringing the relevant industrial heritage sites and organisations together and organising first meetings; providing the new network with a regional logo for use online and in print; facilitating online presence such as using the IHNs website and social media for promotion, news stories and knowledge sharing.

The next regional network meeting is for the Industrial Heritage Network West Midlands (IHNWM) at the Museum Collection Centre for the Birmingham Museums Trust on the 27th November. The second meeting of the IHNNE will take place in Spring of 2019.

The IHSO is currently working on collating contacts for networks in the other regions of the country – if you, your site or organisation are interested in joining a network do get in touch!

The IHNNE members towards the end of the meeting – still smiling 🙂

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