National Historic Ships UK, Historic England, and the Maritime Heritage Trust are working together on a ‘Heritage Harbours’ initiative to promote greater awareness and support for this maritime heritage. Heritage Harbours are places of historic maritime significance that retain original features, buildings, and facilities important for supporting historic vessels and maritime skills, which help connect the public to the UK’s maritime past.
‘Heritage Harbours’ is not a form of legal designation like listing a building or registering a park. Rather, the term underlines the historic importance and potential of harbours identified by this label. The Heritage Harbours concept emerged from a desire to safeguard and restore the infrastructure and skills necessary to support maritime heritage, including historic boats and ships still in use or preserved. All three organisations are committed to exploring how the Heritage Harbour concept might be developed and promoted in practice.
First introduced to the UK in 2019 by the Maritime Heritage Trust, working in partnership with National Historic Ships UK, the Heritage Harbours idea has been embraced and built upon by communities across the UK. This has seen the establishment of local steering groups, forums, and volunteer led initiatives, as well as investigatory work into what individual Heritage Harbours could offer in the future.
For more details see the full statement by National Historic Ships UK, Maritime Heritage Trust, Historic England here: https://www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk/page/heritage-harbours