Heritage Alliance to Launch ‘Heritage, Health and Wellbeing’ Report

The Heritage Alliance will be launching their ‘Heritage, Health and Wellbeing’ report on September 28th at a virtual event. The report explores the positive impact heritage can have on individual and community wellbeing, analysing existing work and several case studies, with recommendations.

The event will discuss these recommendations and hear from a number of speakers from across the heritage sector about their experiences in integrating wellbeing into their work. There will also be an opportunity for audience Q&A. Booking here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heritage-health-and-wellbeing-report-launch-tickets-116203883945

NMDC Good Practice Guidelines On Opening Museums

With around a third of industrial heritage sites re-opening in July and more in August it’s a good time to highlight the National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC) guidelines on re-opening museums. These have been compiled with support from DCMS and the Museums and Galleries Working Group. The guidelines are intended to help employers, employees, and the self-employed, and volunteers in the museum sector in England in understanding how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines provide a set of practical considerations for museums to work through before reopening, which should be used in conjunction with COVID-safe guidelines published by HM Government. These are intended to enhance, not supplant, existing regulations and to sit alongside and inform the existing business practices and standards museums already consider when managing risk and conducting business planning activities.

The intention is to periodically update these as and when new Government guidance becomes available during the different steps of adjustment to lockdown. To download the guidelines follow this link:

NMDC has also produced a timeline of possible stages of reopening, since there will be no single date on which all museums reopen. Rather, there is a range of different approaches depending on the individual museum. The timeline can be found here:


Historic England Industrial Heritage Webinars Now Online

The Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, run by the Canal and River Trust.

Over the summer of 2020 Historic England ran two industrial heritage training webinars. If you missed the two industrial heritage webinars run by Historic England earlier in thee summer no need to fret! Both are now available to listen to online, along with a host of other subjects.

The first of webinar provided an initial overview of Historic England’s developing Industrial Heritage Strategy from Shane Gould (Head of Industrial Heritage Strategy, Historic England). Norman Redhead (Greater Manchester Archaeological Advisory Service), described the work of a local authority archaeological officer in the identification, assessment and recording of industrial heritage sites through the planning process, as well as the assessment of public benefit regarding such sites. Finally, Dr Joanne O’Hara, (Somerset West and Taunton Council) considered the role of enforcement powers in tackling industrial listed buildings at risk drawing on a case study in Somerset.

In the second industrial heritage webinar Shane Gould considered in greater depth the topics and issues addressed by Historic England’s developing Industrial Heritage Strategy. These include planning & conservation, reuse, industrial sites as heritage attractions, knowledge & skills and research, whilst our own IHSO England officer, Dr Michael Nevell, provided an overview of the Industrial Heritage Support project.

Follow this link to hear both webinars: https://historicengland.org.uk/services-skills/training-skills/online-training/webinars/

Mills Development Conference Online

There is still time (just) to join the online Mills Development Conference on 4th August from 9am to 2.30pm. Mills were one of the drivers of the industrial revolution within the UK – but now thousands of mills lay derelict and underutilised. This event will delve into the incredible opportunities they present to help drive economic growth and tackle the housing crisis. Mill owners, regional authorities, regeneration experts and major developers will all come together to discuss their future projects and how those in the audience can get involved.

Link here for booking: https://www.built-environment-networking.com/event/mills-development-conference-online/

New Culture Recovery Funds Launched

Headstocks at Blistshill, Ironbridge, July 2020

As part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund to support cultural, arts, and heritage organisations, two major funding programmes for museums, heritage sites, and heritage organisations were launched on 29th July 2020.

1) Arts Council England – Cultural Recovery Fund
A grant fund of £500million is available to support museums which were financially sustainable before Covid-19 but are now at imminent risk of failure. The aim is to ensure that, by March 2021, successful applicants are either fully or partially reopened, or operating on a sustainable, cost efficient basis, so that they are able to reopen at a later date.
All Accredited museums and those working towards accreditation are eligible to apply. Museums can apply for a minimum of £50,000 to a maximum of £3million of funding to be spent in the period October 2020 to March 2021; no match funding is required.
Round one opens 10th August 2020 and closes for applications 12pm 21st August 2020. Round two opens 21st August 2020 and closes for applications 12pm 4th September 2020. Arts Council England expect to allocate 75% of the funding in the first round. The grants will fund costs incurred during the period October 2020 to March 2021 that enable a museum to: remain open, reopen, or partially reopen; costs to allow reduction of activity to preserve the museum; and costs to ensure value for money of a museum’s financial sustainability. For further details see here:


2) Historic England in partnership with National Lottery Heritage Fund – Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
A grant fund of £88million is available to help heritage organisations or businesses cover operating costs, assess and adapt their business models, and become financially viable. This may include the costs of reopening, operating, hibernation, mothballing, or recovery costs. An additional £4 million is being used to top up other support schemes for the sector.

Applications open across England on 30th July 2020 and close on Monday 17th August 2020. There will be one round with applicants being notified by the end of September. Those eligible are: not for profit organisations managing heritage sites, venues or attractions; local authorities, universities, and other public sector bodies managing heritage sites, venues or attractions; private owners of heritage sites, venues or attractions which are normally open to the public 28 days a year or more; heritage businesses including conservators, contractors, specialists, and suppliers; and organisations that manage culturally significant assets or collections.

Organisations can apply for a minimum of £10,000 to a maximum of £3million. Grants must be spent by the end of March 2021 and the deadline for applications is 12pm on the 17th August. Further details here:


Museum Development Network: Supporting Your Industrial Heritage Museum

All the roughly 600 preserved industrial heritage sites usually open to the public in England were closed on 23rd March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant number are now starting to re-open, or are preparing to re-open, from heritage railways and pumping houses, to wind and water mills. Now is a good time to remind industrial heritage site owners, and those running such sites, of the free support on offer from the Museum Development network.

This is a well-established network of regional museum support groups funded by the Arts Council and local authorities, for non-national museums. Each has its own dedicated team of advisors, and these regional museum support networks offer a range of services from grants and case studies, to events lists and training: on making your museum ready for COVID-19 return for instance. Links to the relevant regional websites are below:

Museum Develpment East Midlands: https://mdem.org.uk/news/

Museum Development North East: https://museumdevelopmentne.org.uk/

Museum Development North West: https://museumdevelopmentnorthwest.wordpress.com/

Museum Development Yorkshire: https://www.museumdevelopmentyorkshire.org.uk/

Share Museums East: http://www.sharemuseumseast.org.uk/

South East Museum Development: https://southeastmuseums.org/

South Museum Development: https://southwestmuseums.org.uk/

Supporting London Museums: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/supporting-london-museums

West Midlands Museum Development: https://mdwm.org.uk/

The Long Warehouse, Ironbridge, March 2020.

Historic England Industrial Webinars

As part of its training programme Historic England is running industrial heritage webinars. The second will take place on 29 July where Shane Gould will consider in greater depth some of the topics and issues being addressed in Historic England’s developing Industrial Heritage Strategy followed by Dr Mike Nevell, Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, describing his work which focusses on industrial sites preserved as heritage attractions.

The webinar will be particularly relevant for local authority planning officers, archaeological advisers, conservation officers and consultants/contractors working on industrial heritage sites and those involved in the ownership or management of industrial sites preserved as heritage attractions.

Details on how to sign up can be found here – https://lnkd.in/dyf47Js. – including the recording from the first webinar.

AIA Announces Restoration Grants for 2020

The former GWR Patter Store, Swindon (courtesy of the Diocese of Bristol).
Although the heritage sector faces very difficult times, the AIA’s has been able to continue its support for the restoration of industrial buildings and artefacts through their annual restoration grants. A total of over £144,000 has been awarded to 12 projects in 2020. This brings the total amount the AIA has awarded for the restoration of industrial buildings and artefacts to £750,000 since the scheme started in 2009. This is thanks to the generosity of its anonymous donors. Full details of the successful projects will be published in the next issue of Industrial Archaeology News.

The largest grant made this year was £20,000 given towards the restoration of the Grade II listed Great Western Railway Pattern Store in Swindon. Built in 1897 as a fire-proof depository for patterns for railway parts, it was a world-leading workshop for railway engineering. After facing an uncertain future for many years, the building has been bought by the Diocese of Bristol to create a pioneering ‘Resourcing Church’ to serve the town. The AIA grant will be used to complete the renovation of the north elevation and roof, with its historic water tank.

For more information about AIA’s restoration grant scheme, please visit the AIA website

Historic England Guidance on Re-Opening (Industrial) Heritage Sites

The headstocks at the Lancashire Mining Museum

On the 24th June 2020 the UK Government issued advice on re-opening the Visitor Economy from the 4th July as the COVID-19 epidemic eases. This includes advice on how safe working can be implemented whilst maintaining social distancing (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/the-visitor-economy).

With a few notable exceptions, such as some water-powered and wind-powered flour mills, all the 600 plus protected industrial heritage sites in England traditionally open to the public were closed on the 23rd March this year. After more than three months sites as diverse as the Amberley Museum, Blue Bell Railway, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and the Lancashire Mining Museum are preparing to re-open over the summer.

The Blue Bell Railway

If you are amongst the thousands of heritage sites in England preparing to reopen a heritage location to the public, including those with retail and wider visitor attractions, or you are preparing to go back to work at a historic site, Historic England has prepared this page which may be useful. Here you will find sections on:

  • guidance from the Government and other sector bodies;
  • pubs and restaurants within historic sites;
  • retail within historic buildings;
  • working safely as a heritage professional at heritage locations;
  • places of worship;
  • historic parks and gardens;
  • and industrial heritage sites

This advice should help owners and staff of historic sites, especially at the hundreds of volunteer-run industrial heritage sites in England, think through the considerations for reopening or returning to work. Please note that the considerations listed are not exhaustive and it should be also noted that they do NOT add additional requirements to the Government guidance or legislation.

Historic England Launch Second COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Historic England launched on 9th May the ‘Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund’. This will award grants to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs, and surveys at some of England’s locally-cherished historic buildings and sites.

The work funded will help heritage sites reopen to the public and thrive again as quickly as possible – subject of course to Covid-19 restrictions. The business generated will help heritage specialists who, according to recent HE research, have been severely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. This is the second fund launched by Historic England to help the heritage sector recover from the effects of the pandemic, and is a £3 million temporary funding stream. The first emergency fund is now closed to applications.

Grants of up to £25,000 will be offered for urgent minor repairs from problems such as damaged roofs, masonry, and windows, to the hiring of scaffolding to prevent structural collapse, or to commission surveys necessary to inform urgent repairs. The work funded must be started before Saturday 31 October 2020. The application steps are as follows:

  1. Read the HE guidance (link below)
  2. Complete an HE expression of interest (EOI) survey – deadline Sunday 28 June 2020
  3. HE will tell you if your EOI has been successful by Monday 27 July 2020
  4. Submit a full application – deadline Monday 31 August 2020

Application details can be found here: https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-HAR-fund/

For further enquiries contact Historic England at emergencyhar@HistoricEngland.org.uk