Historic England’s new Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Targets Small Heritage Organisations

Historic England’s much-anticipated Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund launched today (17 April). The intention is to extend a safety net to SMALL heritage organisations and has been set up in response to a recent survey by Historic England.

The Grant Fund

The grants available will help organisations, voluntary groups, and self-employed contractors to survive the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic, and crucially to prepare for recovery. Applicants are invited to apply for grants of up to £25,000 to address financial difficulties arising from Coronavirus. Grants of up to £50,000 are also available for projects and activities that reduce risks to heritage by providing information, resources and skills. The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 3 May 2020 and the funding for successful applications will be awarded from mid-May.

The fund will be used to support third-sector organisations and voluntary groups managing heritage projects, as well as heritage organisations and self-employed contractors who are severely affected by the impact of Coronavirus and who need additional emergency financial support beyond the Government’s measures. Follow this link for the ‘calls for proposals’ document and details of the full eligibility criteria: https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/fund/

COVID-19 Impact Survey

Historic England’s survey of the initial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the heritage sector, received 557 responses from microbusinesses (those with fewer than 10 staff), 79 responses from larger businesses (those with 100 or more employees), and 97 responses from entirely voluntary-run organisations. This contributors operate in a wide range of heritage fields such as archaeology, gardens and landscapes, and historic buildings. However, maritime/transport heritage was least well represented amongst respondents at just 4%. There was a good geographical spread of respondents across England with no one region dominating the data set.

According to Historic England the impact of Coronavirus on respondents is widespread and severe. Nearly four out of five (76%) of respondents report lost business in the short term, and three out of five (58%) had postponed or cancelled income-generating events. At the time of the survey (early April 2020), 39% had decided to furlough staff, but only 5% of respondents had decided to terminate employment contracts, suggesting that furloughing is helping to buffer the impacts. The survey indicated that smaller charities and faith-based organisations have been badly affected by the unavailability of volunteers. One business in four (25%) have experienced delays in being paid for goods and services, while one in three (31%) have incurred additional costs to the business to cope with social distancing measures. The survey indicates that the most vulnerable of the respondents are either:

  • craftspeople / smaller crafts-based businesses
  • ‘professional services’: architects / surveyors / engineers

Over 40% of these businesses forecast their businesses failing within 3 months even if the current Government support scheme delivers.

Follow this link for the survey details: https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/heritage-sector/survey/

The Call for Proposals sits alongside Historic England’s continuing Heritage Protection Commissions Open Proposals Programme. HE say that they are assessing the need and the risks for the projects and organisations they already fund to see what is vulnerable and where their help will make the most difference. The aim is to extend the safety net as far as they can and so help heritage organisations both to survive the immediate challenges and to prepare for the recovery.

Keeping Up-to-Date with the Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Industrial Heritage

The current health crisis is having a severe impact on all our lives. We are having to learn to do things differently and in some cases not to do things at all. The industrial heritage and archaeology sector is no different. Museums are closed, access to buildings, monuments, and landscapes restricted, and many professional archaeology units and specialist heritage architectural practices closed or highly restricted in the work they can undertake. Furthermore, there is a blizzard of advice and a growing number of potential sources of funding that might be useful for industrial heritage bodies, charities, groups, and societies.

How to navigate this new landscape is something we are all facing. Buildings, monuments, and collections still need maintaining. We can still learn from others experiences, even if that is remotely. The IHSO project aims to keep you informed in these difficult times through a variety of online means:

We are using our Facebook pages for regular (sometimes daily) updates about new initiatives, funding and advice. Please join in the conversation here – we’d like to hear how you and your group and site are coping: https://www.facebook.com/IHSOengland/

On twitter we are sharing on a daily basis as many experiences from as many industrial heritage and archaeology sites and groups as we can. Follow us @IHSOengland

We also have a dedicated website for the IHSO project which we are using as the main platform for regular updates on funding, advice, potential training opportunities and calls to take part in surveys. You can sign up for regular blog alerts about posts here by scrolling down the page and clinking on the ‘Subscribe’ button:   https://industrialheritagesupport.com/

We shall also be updating regularly these Industrial Heritage Network pages about future meetings and initiatives.  If you have news about your organisation, requests for help, or advice to pass on, we can post updates here on our IHN regional webpages.

There will come a time later in the year when we can meet face-to-face again. Until then we shall do as much networking as we can remotely.

Conservation & Research Grants: Deadline for AIA Applications 31 March 2020

The deadline for the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s conservation and research grant schemes, 31st March 2020, is fast approaching.

Conservation Grants

The Lion Salt Works salt wagon, before conservation with monies for the AIA in 2014.

Thanks to a series of donations the Association for Industrial archaeology can make available Restoration Grants of up to £20,000 for a range of historic and industrial archaeology purposes.

The first awards were made in 2009, and they have since been able to allocate nearly three quarters of a million pounds. Details of some of those projects can be found in the link below.  From 2020 onwards the available Grants pot is divided into two categories:

  • Major projects where the maximum grant that can be awarded is £20,000. The grant from the AIA must be a significant part of the total project cost, not just a small contribution to a very large project, so that the AIA grant has real impact. The AIA would not normally fund projects where our grant represents less than 20% of the total project costs
  • Small projects which are allocated at least 20% of the available funds. The grant limit is £7,500, for which the total cost of the project, excluding the value of volunteer labour, must not exceed £10,000.

Download Criteria and How to Apply for a Restoration Grant can be found here:


Research Grants

AIA_Student_Poster2020The research grant scheme underpins the study aim of the Association which is to promote the study, preservation and presentation of Britain’s industrial archaeology and heritage. It does that by:

  • Encouraging individual researchers to study industrial archaeology subjects
  • Encouraging the development of industrial archaeology skills within commercial units, the main repository of professional skills in the subject
  • Supporting local industrial archaeology and industrial heritage societies in exploring and understanding their local areas
  • Helping to develop the next generation of industrial archaeologists

The total fund available in any single year is £1,500 and multiple grants may be given up to this maximum in a single year. The AIA may consider part-funding a wider grant application or project as long as the AIA grant is a significant part of the larger application / project. Follow the link below for an application form:


If you have any further questions please contact the coordinator:


AIM Guidance on Coronovirus (COVID-19)

Many industrial museums, and local and regional industrial archaeology and heritage societies are now feeling the impact of the growing Coronovius (COVID-19) crisis. The Association of Independent Museums has issued some guidance that is relevant not just for independent museums but for all those individuals and groups involved with industrial archaeology and heritage sites: https://www.aim-museums.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/

There are links to key websites on medical advice for individuals and workplaces; supporting your organisation; charity finances; and a business resilience check list.

As ever, the primary concern is to ensure the well-being of museum staff, local society members, volunteers, and visitors as the situation with Coronavirus or COVID-19 evolves, so for the very latest information, check the guidance available on the Public Health England and NHS websites here:




New IHSO now in post – March 2020

Our new Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England, Dr Mike Nevell, started on 2nd March and is looking forward to meeting and talking to all the members of the industrial heritage networks over the next few months.

Mike has over 25 years of experience in industrial archaeology and industrial heritage. His previous post was Head of Centre, at the Centre for Applied Archaeology, University of Salford. He might be familiar to some, though, through his past roles as a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology and co-editor of the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s international journal, Industrial Archaeology Review. He has been involved with many local groups and local museums over the last three decades, and has occasionally appeared on archaeology television programmes. Mike’s specialist areas include stationary steam engines, textile mills, warehouses and workers’ housing, and the archaeology of industrialisation, on which subjects he has published extensively.

Mike can be emailed at mike.nevell@ironbridge.org.uk, and his personal blog is available at http://www.archaeologytea.wordpress.com. Don’t forget to follow the IHSO project on twitter @IHSOengland and on Facebook  – http://www.facebook.com/IHSOengland

Pastures new for Joanna Turska (IHSO)

After 16 months, in my role as the Industrial Heritage Support Officer (IHSO), I’m leaving Ironbridge to join the Canal & River Trust as the Destinations Development Officer for West Midlands. My last day is this Friday, the 30th August so please do get in touch if you have any questions before then. After Friday, please contact my line manager, Gillian Crumpton (details below).

Although I’m leaving, I’m delighted to let you know that the following Industrial Heritage Network meetings are going ahead without external support:

  • 18th September – IHN Cornwall & Devon at SS Freshspring (please contact the host directly if you’re interested in attending – click here for details).
  • 8th October – IHN West Midlands at Etruria Industrial Museum (please contact the host directly if you’re interested in attending – click here for details).
  • 8th November – IHN South East at the National Museum of the Royal Navy (please contact the host directly if you’re interested in attending – click here for details)

The following meetings will go ahead in the Spring once the new IHSO has been appointed:

  • IHN South West at the Westonzoyland Pumping Station
  • IHN North West at the British Commercial Vehicles Museum
  • IHN North East at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool

The following inaugural meetings will take place as soon as the new IHSO has been appointed:

  • IHN East Midlands at the Nottingham Industrial Museum
  • IHN East of England at the Burwell Museum & Windmill
  • IHN Yorkshire at the Leeds Industrial Museum.

IHN London at the House Mill – date TBC.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) is currently looking into a replacement IHSO. In the meantime if you have any queries please get in touch with IGMT’s Collections and Learning Director, Gillian Crumpton: gillian.crumpton@ironbridge.org.uk.

I’ve had a truly interesting and rewarding time as the IHSO and I would like to thank you for your support. Hopefully our paths will cross again in the future!

Join the Brunel Swivel Bridge 170th Birthday Celebrations!

The Brunel Swivel Bridge, dubbed ‘Brunel’s Other Bridge’, is a remarkable survival of one of Brunel’s most original concepts, a pivoting bridge that once crossed his new lock at the entrance to Bristol City Harbour.  It is much older than the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and is still in place but is now derelict, the only piece of Brunel’s work to have been abandoned in the City.

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