Hydro-electric Power Returns to Cromford Mills

The Arkwright Society has secured £330,000 from Severn Trent Water and Derbyshire County Council to install a new green energy system at Cromford Mills, Derbyshire. The original mill, restored and owned by the Society, was built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright and was the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill. It is a key part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The project will involve reinstating a waterwheel and installing a 20kW hydro-turbine to power the buildings. Water heat pumps will also be installed in the structure and an old turbine in nearby Cromford village will be restored. Work on the new power systems is due to begin in September 2022 with the aim of being fully operational by June 2023.

Simon Gill, the society’s operations director, said: “It’s probably the most significant thing that’s going to happen here to return water power to the original mill that created the first factory system at the start of the Industrial Revolution.” He added that an aspect of the scheme which was “close to his heart” was the reduction of the site’s carbon footprint and emissions. When complete the project will also be used to educate people visiting the site about renewable energy sources. For further details on the site follow this link: https://www.cromfordmills.org.uk/about/

Free Guided Walking Tour of the Former Ilfracombe Railway

As part of the Festival of Archaeology 2022, Historic England’s Historic Environment Advice Assistant apprentices, and local experts from Combe Rail, are leading a guided walking tour of the former Ilfracombe railway on Monday 8th August. The tour will look at the history and archaeology of the line and how it has evolved, visiting the old station and ending at the local museum.

The Ilfracombe-Barnstaple line was opened in 1874 by the London and South Western Railway. The line closed in 1970, and an attempt to buy the line for preservation in 1975 was unsuccessful. Much of the former trackbed has now been developed as the popular and attractive Tarka Trail cycle path. The tour will follow this path, led by local experts Glyn Pollington and John Burch.

For details on how to book follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/festival-of-archaeology-2022-a-journey-down-the-old-ilfracombe-railway-tickets-382983021527

Combe Mill to Recieve Engineering Heritage Award

Combe Mill industrial heritage museum is to receive the Engineering Heritage Award of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The Awards recognizes pioneering engineering artefacts, locations, collections, and landmarks and celebrates the contribution of mechanical engineering to our past and present.

The award will be presented at Combe Mill by John Wood MBE, past President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Chairman of the Engineering Heritage Committee, on Sunday 21st August 2022 at 3:00 p.m. The citation on the award plaque will read: A fine example of a Victorian English estate workshop and sawmill. Restored by the Combe Mill Society volunteers, 1969-2012, it includes a beam engine and waterwheel. Combe Mill illustrates the impact of social and technological change on this rural English landscape.

Steve Foster, chairman of Combe Mill Society said, “Combe Mill is delighted and honoured to receive the Engineering Heritage Award. A dedicated stream of volunteers has worked hard to restore, preserve and demonstrate the historic mill, its people and its place in the local community for over 50 years and this award is a tribute to all their efforts.” For further details of the award follow this link: https://www.imeche.org/engineering-heritage-awards).

Combe Mill can trace its origins back to the medieval period. The current grade II* listed buildings are a rare survival of a steam and water powered mill together with much original machinery still in operation. For further detail follow this link: https://www.combemill.co.uk/

Britannia Sailing Trust Award Nomination

The Britannia Sail Trust have been selected for a National Transport Trust Restoration Award, and are in the running for a prestigious Founder Award, named after the founders of the National Transport Trust. This recognition of the work of the Britannia Sailing Trust, and the £1500 which comes with the Restoration Award, will go a long way to support the work of the Trust.

The Trust would like to thank everyone who has been involved with Britannia in any capacity – small or large – for helping them to reach this point and this visible recognition of their collective efforts. More details can be found here: https://britanniasailingtrust.org/amazing-recognition-of-the-trusts-achievements/

Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump Open Days 30 & 31 July

Live in the North West? Then why not visit Murgatroyd’s Brine Pumps on 30th and 31st July open 12 noon to 4pm. The site is located in Middlewich, Cheshire CW10 0JG. This a newly restored industrial heritage made possible with grant funding from the Association for industrial Archaeology and the NHLF.

The Trust that runs the site is planning guided tours at this unique site, displays, activities, films and refreshments. Learn about Cheshire Salt and Chemical industries and how they impacted on our landscape and community. Entry is free.

Chance Conversations: The Future of Industrial Heritage – a series of free events

Taking place online from 26 July – 04 August 2022, Chance Conversations will explore some of the biggest current topics in industrial heritage, from the different ways it can revive communities, to how old industrial buildings can reveal the global foundations a town is built on. The talks are being hosted by Chance Heritage Trust and DigVentures as part of #MadeinSmethwick – a programme of public events inspired by stories from Chance Brothers glassworks in Smethwick, and the continuing mission to give this disused industrial building a new lease of life within its surrounding community.

Panellists include Simon Briercliffe (University of Birmingham), Lizey Thompson (Canal and River Trust), Graham Worton (Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark coordinator), Mary Lewis (Heritage Crafts Association), Malcolm Dick (University of Birmingham), Marianne Monro (Chance Heritage Trust), and many more. Each panel discussion will include a live Q&A.

You can see the whole series and join in the discussion by registering for FREE at:

Chance Conversations: The Future of Industrial Heritage
Hosted by Chance Heritage Trust and DigVentures as part of #MadeinSmethwick

26 July – 04 August 2022

Full programme: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/the-future-of-industrial-heritage-661909

Global Smethwick: The history of a town in 10 buildings

Tue 26 July 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Smethwick isn’t just any old town: from the Red Cow pub to Marshall Street’s Malcolm X plaque and Guru Nanak Gurudwara, it has been built by people from all over the world. Our panel will discuss how the buildings you walk past every day can reveal the foundations of a town, and the global history it is built on.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/372178354477

Art of the Industrial Revolution and the Future of Heritage Crafts

Wed 27 July 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

During the industrial revolution, artists created murals and paintings showing the skill and craft of its workers, like the dancer-like glassblowers painted by Mervyn Peake inside Chance Glassworks. What can we learn from images like this? And what’s being done to save the skills they depict today? Our panel will discuss the art of the industrial revolution, and introduce some of the people trying to save heritage crafts today.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/372184111697

Revival to Reuse: Can industrial heritage save us?

Tue 02 August 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Why is industrial heritage so popular right now? And can its ruins be used to heal some of the wounds created by the human and environmental impact of industrialisation? From museums to canals and even geoparks, our panel will discuss how industrial heritage can encourage revival, reuse, and renewal within our communities, particularly in the Black Country.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/372186579077

Working Class Life: From Industrial Revolution to the Future

Wed 03 August 2022, 6pm BST (via Zoom, recording available)

Working life has changed in so many ways over the last few hundred years, for men, women, children, and families – not just in the UK, but around the world. Our panel will discuss the history of work and working-class life, how it has changed (and how it hasn’t) from the industrial revolution to the present day, and even where we might possibly go from here…

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/372191433597

A future for Smethwick’s industrial past

Thu 04 Aug 2022, 4pm BST (Brasshouse Community Centre, Smethwick)

How do you bring an old industrial building back into use? And how do you make sure it contributes to community life? Our panel will discuss the journey, from the different options available and how to get started, to what can be learned along the way – all while hearing about Chance Heritage Trust’s ongoing plans to bring the former Chance Brothers Glassworks back into use in Smethwick.

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/372194252027

Free Oral History Training at Avoncroft Museum

Are you interested in interviewing people and recording their voices for posterity for industrial heritage or community projects? The Dialect and Heritage Project has a number of opportunities for volunteers to conduct interviews that could become part of the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture. Running on Saturday 23rd July, 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Avoncroft Museum, the training session is for anyone who might like to take part and develop valuable skills that will enhance this project and, hopefully, other projects across the West Midlands.

This self-contained course, organised jointly by the Heritage Lottery Funded Dialect and Heritage Project and Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings aims to be an informal and practical introduction to oral history interviewing

Places are limited so please register your place now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dialect-heritage-project-oral-history-workshop-tickets-362050451647

Trials on Using Floodwater from Disused Mines as a Heat Source Move Forward

The use of water from abandoned coal mines to heat homes and historic sites has taken a further step forward. The Welsh government has agreed to spend £450,000 on a project which it hopes will help cut Welsh energy bills and Wales’ carbon footprint. The money will be used by the Coal Authority, who manage disused pits in Britain, to locate the best areas in Wales for such a project.

Potential sites will be tested for the effectiveness of extracting water from disused mines and putting it through a heat exchanger, where some heat is recovered, before it is amplified by a heat pump. This can then be used to heat homes and/or industrial heritage sites. Mine water heating is low-carbon, but not carbon-free because the water has to be further warmed using a heat pump, which operates like a fridge in reverse. A similar programme in Gateshead, England, developed by the Coal Authority at a cost of £9m, has become the largest mine water heat scheme in the UK.

For further details follow this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62154271

or this link for the Gateshead project: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-60772187

For the Coal Authority website follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/the-coal-authority

Promoting Heritage Harbours Initiative

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

Barnsley Museum Launches 3D Fly-through of Elsecar Industrial Village

Barnsley Museum have launched a fly-through reconstruction of the 19th century Elsecar industrial village. The stunning fly-through is a digital rendering showing Elsecar and the surrounding area at its industrial peak around 1880 with ironworks, collieries, canals, railways and settlements all visible.

Prepared by Barnsley Museum and produced by digital creator Martin Moss of Dextra Digital, it is based on research carried out by Historic England as part of the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone, together with local volunteer historians and experts across the UK, which has transformed our understanding of the importance of Elsecar. It is also a legacy project of the Great Place Wentworth & Elsecar Programme, supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To view the fly-through follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KYqMX5EfGs

A reconstruction of the Elsecar Ironworks around 1880. Image courtesy of Barnsley Museum