Britain’s oldest boat lift has received a £574,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant towards essential repairs.This grant will be used to repair the hydraulics and computer system of the Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich, Cheshire, by the Canal and River Trust (CRT).
The lift on the Trent and Mersey Canal was built by Edwin Clarke in 1875 to allow boats carrying salt and coal to move easily between the canal and the Weaver Navigation 15m (50ft) below.
The lift, which is known as “Cathedral of the Canals” and also as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Waterways”, was in operation for more than 100 years until 1983 when it closed due to corrosion. The lift reopened to the public in 2002 after a multi-million pound restoration but has been out of action since August 2022 due to the failure of a safety mechanism.
Andrew Davison, inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, which supported the Canal & River Trust’s application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said the boat was an “extraordinary feat of engineering, an outstanding product of Victorian technical ability and ingenuity…There is no substitute for seeing it in operation or experiencing sitting on a boat which is being lifted or lowered between the canal and the river.”
Rebecca Mason, enterprise manager at the Canal & River Trust, said they were “thrilled” to be awarded this development phase grant. She said the trust would work closely with partners and stakeholders including Historic England over the next 18 months “to ensure we can submit a really robust second-round application to the lottery in 2024”. Further details here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/anderton-boat-lift-visitor-centre
Historic England’s next free lunchtime industrial heritage webinar takes place on 23 February, 1300 – 1400. This webinar will describe the work and findings from the Elsecar Heritage Action Zone which ran from 2017 – 2020.
The model industrial village of Elsecar was developed in the late 18th- and 19th-centuries by the Earls Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse to exploit nearby abundant coal and iron reserves and much of the landscape comprising ironworks, collieries, housing and supporting infrastructure survives to this day. The webinar will consider this nationally important landscape through the research programme, protection and management strategies, community outreach and engagement, how Barnsley Museums are building on this legacy with an ambitious programme and vision for the village, and potential lessons for elsewhere. It will be of interest to all those involved in the investigation, interpretation, management and presentation of our rich industrial heritage and how it can be at the forefront of place-shaping and regeneration.
Amongst the industrial heritage sites successfully removed from this year’s Historic England Heritage at Risk Register is the scheduled London Midland and Scottish Railway Swing Bridge – also known as the Rewley Road swing bridge – crossing the Sheepwash Channel in west Oxford. This structure was suffering from severe decay affecting the plating and paint protecting its moving parts.
Designed by engineer Robert Stephenson the railway bridge was built in 1850-1 for the former Buckinghamshire Railway branch of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. It was reconstructed in 1890 and again in 1906. The bridge closed to passenger traffic in 1951 and to goods in 1984. It is one of only two moving bridges on the River Thames, the other being Tower Bridge, London. It is had been in the care of the Oxford Preservation Trust since 2019 who have overseen the restoration with funding from Historic England, Network Rail, and the Railway Heritage Trust and other sources.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester has received a £3million donation from The Law Family Charitable Foundation to fund the future of its iconic Power Hall gallery. The donation, the museum’s largest philanthropic gift to date, will support the gallery’s regeneration.
In recognition of The Law Family Charitable Foundation’s generosity and the significant benefit it will have for visitors, the gallery will be known as the Power Hall: The Law Family Gallery, when it reopens to the public in 2024. The Grade II listed Power Hall building was built in 1855 as the transhipment shed for Liverpool Road Station, the world’s first purpose-built intercity passenger railway station. It houses one of the UK’s largest collections of working stationary steam engines, most of them built in Manchester.
The gift is in addition to the £4.3 million given by the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to transform the whole museum’s environmental sustainability and place zero carbon technology at the heart of the museum’s visitor experience. £2.6 million from that grant will enable the Power Hall (currently undergoing urgent restoration thanks to £6 million from the DCMS) to reduce C02 emissions by 60% by 2030 through enhanced roof insulation and glazing to improve energy efficiency, an electric boiler and water source heat pumps to heat the space and power the historic engines sustainably, and a new building management system to monitor and control energy use of this iconic gallery.
Galleries, museums, libraries, and cultural venues across the country are to benefit from almost £50 million of funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations, and power economic growth through culture. This support comes from the Cultural Development Fund (CDF) strand of the funding and £6,943,759 of this fund will be spent on seven industrial heritage museums in England.
Barnsley Museums have been awarded a grant of £3.93 million by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England. The significant funding will transform Elsecar Heritage Centre, creating new creative studios in derelict historic spaces, maker and museum galleries and stunning new indoor and outdoor areas for events and cultural activity. Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust received £1,064,348 for repairs from the MEND strand of the funding which will enable the Trust to carry out vital infrastructure and essential maintenance work at Blists Hill Victorian Town.
In addition, Leeds Industrial Museum received £653,000, Brooklands Museum Trust were granted £488,000, Bletchley Park received £468,393, the London Transport Museum was granted £277,093, and Ruddington Framework Knitters Museum was granted £62,925 to repair its historic fabric.
The deadlines for the relaunched SPAB Heritage Awards are rapidly approaching. In 2022 SPAB will be championing excellence in built heritage across the UK and Ireland, bringing established SPAB awards together with fresh new ones, and waving the flag for all the gifted craftspeople, dedicated custodians, and environmentally conscious practitioners that work tirelessly to ensure that our astonishing built heritage has a bright future.
The entry categories for 2022 are: Building Craftsperson of the Year; Best Loved Award; Sustainable Heritage Award; Philip Webb Award; John Betjeman Award; and the Scholarship & Fellowship Presentation. The deadlines are as follows:
Main entry deadline: 28 March 2022
Philip Webb Award entry deadline: 12 September 2022
The three speakers considered how mill reuse is driving the regeneration of whole areas, building meaningful communities, and helping sites to become more environmentally sustainable. A second complementary mills webinar is now in development which will look more closely at delivering high-quality design in mill reuse and details will be posted soon. The webinar also referenced the recent Historic England publication ‘Driving Northern Growth through repurposing Historic Mills’ – available to download this following this link: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/driving-northern-growth-repurposing-mills/. This document re-assesses the re-use potential of under-used and vacant mills, identifies their possible contribution to rebalancing the country’s economy, and improving environmental sustainability, and highlights regeneration success stories since 2017.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is expanding its awards for 2022 from two to five. These five awards will further recognise the communities that care for historic buildings and the experts who repair them.
The existing SPAB awards – the John Betjeman Award for conservation to faith buildings and the Philip Webb Award, a design competition for student architects – will joined by three new ones: the Buildings Craftsperson of the Year, the Sustainable Heritage Award, and the Best Loved Award. Storm Bespoke Secondary Glazing will be the main, headline, sponsor for the expanded SPAB Heritage Awards, whilst Terra Measurement is the Philip Webb Award sponsor.