Ironbridge to Receive £9.9 Million for Urgent Conservation & Repair Work

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has been awarded £9.9 million by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) from the Cultural Assets Fund (CAF), a £20 million government funding stream to protect treasured heritage assets in England from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will allow the museum to carry out a backlog of urgent conservation and repair work to 49 historic buildings and structures across the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This includes five scheduled monuments and 30 listed buildings which are recognised individually and collectively for their architectural and historic significance.

The Cultural Assets Fund is funding specifically for conservation work identified as part of the IGMT Quinquennial Review, carried out in 2021. £5.5m of the fund has been allocated specifically for the repair and maintenance of the historical buildings and monuments. The grant also includes £4.5m endowment funding which will be invested to ensure income generation for continuing conservation maintenance and to help safeguard the future of the heritage assets.

Visitor figures to Ironbridge, which has recently experienced devastating floods, dropped by almost 75% in 2020 due to the pandemic, compared to 2019. With less visitor income, the organisation’s funds for vital conservation repair work have been significantly reduced. The pandemic also meant that volunteers were unable to offer their usual help with site maintenance, including flooding repair work. In contrast, 2019 saw over 400 individuals volunteering almost 25,000 hours of their time to support the site.

The funding will support vital repairs to some of Ironbridge’s most important structures, which reveal how its rural landscape was transformed and optimised in the 18th century to provide the transport links, raw materials, and natural resources required for industrial processes such as iron, brick making, and ceramics. The survival of this heritage in its original context is crucial for maintaining the integrity and authenticity of Ironbridge as a designated World Heritage Site, attracting visitors from across the world.

Bedlam Furnaces

Industrial Museums Receive £7 Million as Part of £50 Million CDF Support

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.

Pithead colliery gear, Blists Hill, Ironbridge

Heritage Open Days – Register Now!

Registration is now open for Heritage Open Days 2022, which this year runs from the 9th to the 18th September. Last year more than 100 industrial archaeology and heritage sites opened their doors for free to the public in England alone.

You can join the largest festival of history and culture in the UK as an organiser by simply submitting your event, thereby putting your local area on the map, enabling you to tell the stories of people, places, and events that really matter to your local area. This year’s theme is Astounding Inventions, which seems tailor-made for industrial sites. Potential organisers can download a resource pack full of inspiring materials and ideas for events and activities.

Follow this link for more details on Heritage Open Days website

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Friends Seek Volunteers Ahead of Site Opening

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings will be opening to the public later in 2022. The Friends of the Flaxmill Maltings will manage the new interactive visitor experience, which will bring the past, present, and future of the site to life. They will also offer guided tours and run the shop.

The Flaxmill Maltings is recognised as the first iron-framed building in the world, and has undergone a £20.7 million renovation. The Friends are calling for additional volunteers ahead of the opening. From front of house to behind the scenes roles, the Friends need more people who have some time that they can give to this internationally important landmark.

As part of their recruitment drive they are holding a series of volunteer recruitment events. This will include manning a stall at the Shrewsbury Museum and Arts Gallery between 10am and 4pm on March 19, with further events planned to be held on April 8 and April 9 at the Flaxmill Maltings site. At these events you’ll be able to meet the Friends staff and some of their existing volunteers, and find out what’s involved in being a part of their friendly team. 

Further details here:

Museum and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief Service from ACE

The Arts Council England’s new Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief (MGETR) Support Service is designed to enable more organisations to benefit from this relief. In addition to a new guide, companies based in England can also benefit from a new helpdesk service. The service is completely free.

The support service will help address some of the common questions and misconceptions associated with the tax relief, as well as providing a straightforward, step-by-step guide to preparing and making a claim. The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief is an important source of additional funds that is applicable to a large number of arts and cultural organisations. Up to 40p in each £ could be claimed as cash-based support to invest in your organisation’s ambitions.

Click here to find out more>>

AIA Liverpool Weekend Tours June 2022 – Booking Open

Last year the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA) had to cancel or postpone most of its planned activities, including their annual conference, scheduled for Liverpool. However, AIA have announced a long weekend of tours in and around Liverpool from 17-19th June 2022, organised by the Merseyside Industrial Heritage Society. The event includes three days of tours and a Saturday evening dinner, at which AIA’s awards for the past two years will be presented.

The event costs £160 and includes the trips and dinner at the Liverpool Marriott Hotel, where delegates may book accommodation at a preferential rate; details will be provided at the time of booking. Alternatively, delegates may make their own accommodation arrangements. Places are limited so early booking is advised. The planned tours are as follows:

Friday 17th June – a day touring the dock area of Liverpool, including the Old Dock of 1716, Jesse Hartley’s magnificent Royal Albert Dock of 1846 and associated buildings, and many other historic docks and warehouses, including the Tate & Lyle reinforced concrete sugar silo of 1957.

Saturday 18th June – a day on transport, starting with a drive through the Mersey Tunnel to the Wirral Transport Museum for a tram ride to the Woodside Ferry terminal of 1861, moving on to the Hooton Park Trust with its Belfast Trusses and historic aircraft before returning via the 1938 terminal of Speke Aerodrome. That evening there will be a dinner at the Marriott Hotel, close to Lime Street Station.

Sunday 19th June – visiting Edge Hill on the way for evidence of the original 1830 Liverpool & Manchester Railway, its 1836 station, the cutting, and tunnels to the docks, the rest of the day will be spent at St Helens including parts of the Sankey Canal and the glassworks.

Click for more information and booking

Liverpool’s Albert Docks

Ironbridge Launch Online Appeal for Conservation Works on Blists Hill Steam Engines

The replica of the Trevithick Locomotive at Blists Hills, Ironbridge

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has launched an online appeal to raise funds for conservation and repair work that is vitally needed on three iconic steam engines at Blists Hill Victorian Town. They are seeking to protect the Trevithick locomotive replica, ‘Billy’ the Road Roller, and the portable engine and stone crusher in the stonemason’s yard. They would be grateful for any level of donation you could make to their appeal for help towards this significant heritage conservation project.

The Trevithick locomotive is a replica of the world’s first steam railway locomotive, which was designed by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) and constructed by the Coalbrookdale Company in 1802-1803. Billy is a 3-ton steam roller constructed by Wallis and Steevens in Basingstoke in 1903. The Portable is a stationary engine located in the stonemason’s yard at Blists Hill Victorian Town, and is constructed from a variety of sources, including a 1920s locomotive boiler and an 1880s engine.

Read more about these engines, and donate, by following this link:

Historic England Announce New Everyday Heritage Grants

Men working at a Stoke-on-Trent bottle kiln, 1965-68. Copyright Historic England.

Historic England’s new ‘Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories’ will fund community-led and people-focused projects that aim to further the nation’s collective understanding of the past. These pilot grants will focus on heritage that links people to overlooked historic places, with a particular interest in recognising and celebrating working class histories.

From palaces to terraced houses, stately homes to barns, our towns and landscapes are filled with symbols of our past. But not everyone’s stories are told and not everyone’s history is remembered. The Everyday Heritage Grants Scheme aims to engage with the widest possible range of heritage and helps to further the nation’s collective understanding of England’s past. Historic England are inviting applications from community or heritage organisations/museums to apply for grants up to £25,000 to fund projects that will celebrate the built or historic environment near them.

Each project should enable people to creatively share overlooked or untold stories of the places where they live and encourage communities, groups and local people to examine and tell their own stories in their own ways.

Historic England is also looking for projects that provide innovative volunteering opportunities for young people or people facing loneliness or isolation, as well as contribute positively to participants’ wellbeing.

As a result of these funded projects, heritage and stories that have been previously overlooked will be recognised and revealed, with buildings or historic sites acting as the inspiration. People will be able to tell their own stories, in their own way, and be encouraged to connect with others in their local communities.

The Application window opens on the 23rd February 2022 and closes on 23rd May 2022. For more information about the project and how to apply, please visit the Historic England website here or email  

£4.5 Million Increase to the Heritage Stimulus Fund

81 projects across 78 historic sites are set to receive a share of £4.5 million through Historic England, from Round 3 of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. This February 2022 further round of funding will ensure essential repairs and restoration can be completed and help bring heritage sites back to life by supporting major building programmes, safeguarding jobs, and generating employment.

The sites supported, which include 33 buildings supported for the first time, include additional monies for several industrial heritage buildings and structures. These include South Wingfield Station in Derbyshire and Wheal Betsy in Devon. The Canal and River Trust will receive further funds to help restore locks on the Ashton, Grand Union, Hertford Union, Leeds Liverpool, Peak Forest, and Walsall canals. For a full list of recipients from all three CRF rounds in England follow this link:

SPAB Awards Deadline Approaching for 2022

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

To submit your own project or nominate exceptional work you think deserves special recognition follow this link: