Second England COVID-19 Lockdown – Some Key Heritage Website Links

The UK Government has announced (31 October 2020) a second lockdown for England to run for four weeks from 5 November to 2 December inclusive. Museums, galleries, and and all non-essential retail venues will be required to close during this period. At the end of the period, England will return to a regional approach of Tier restrictions, based upon the latest data.

A second lockdown in England will place extra strain on the Industrial Heritage sector. Only 50% of the c. 600 protected industrial heritage monuments and museums accessible to the public in England were able to open their doors after the first lock down ended in July. Even before the second lockdown was announced many sites were already closing for their normal winter maintenance period, whilst others had chosen not to re-open until spring 2021. However, that leaves a large number of industrial heritage sites and museums that would normally be open in the autumn and winter facing another closure. Furthermore, the continued restrictions on group meetings is also putting strain on the activities, fieldwork, and research of industrial archaeology and industrial heritage volunteer groups and societies.

There are some differences from the first lockdown so its important to keep up-to-date with the latest regulations. You can read the November UK Government guidance here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november?s=0

The latest UK Government Coronovirus Advice can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For further updates on the impact of the Second Lockdown on the wider heritage sector see the Heritage Alliance website here:

The UK Government also announced the following financial support measures for the second lockdown:

  • workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.
  • the flexibility of the current Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can.
  • employers small or large, charitable or non-profit are eligible and because more businesses will need to close, they will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November.
  • the Job Support Scheme will not be introduced until after the Job Retention Scheme ends.

Arts Council Announce Further £75million of Cultural Recovery Grants

On 23 Oct Arts Council England announced the awarding of a further £75 million in grants from the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund. This investment will go to 35 of the country’s leading cultural organisations and venues. These grants are worth between £1 and £3 million, with just over £8m going to organisations looking after industrial heritage sites.

Four organisations who look after industrial heritage sites will receive grants in this latest round. These are:

  • the Birmingham Museums Trust (which runs the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and Sarehole Mill) (£1.87m);
  • the Black Country Living Museum Trust (a 26 acre site) (£2.55m);
  • the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (which encompasses 10 museum sites and 35 listed buildings and is at the heart of the World Heritage Site) (£1.86m);
  • and the London Transport Museum (with sites at Covenant Garden and Acton) (£1.75m).

A second round of grants over £1 million and the recipients of the £270 million loans package will be announced in the coming weeks. For further details follow this link:

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/news/culture-recovery-fund-further-investment-75-million

Canal & River Trust Awarded £1.6 Million

Hunts Locks on the Weaver Navigation, Cheshire – one of the Canal & River Trust sites receiving funding for essential maintenance.

The Canal & River Trust has been awarded a £1.6m grant through the Heritage Stimulus Fund. This forms part of a package of measures recently announced by UK Government – https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/the-trust-to-receive-over-gbp16m-from-the-government-heritage-stimulus-fund.

445 heritage organisations will share £10m+ from two funds in the Culture Recovery Fund (Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and Heritage Stimulus Fund) to restart vital repair and maintenance work on cherished heritage sites, and to keep attractions open and support those working in the sector. The funds are administered by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, further details can be found here  –https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/445-heritage-organisations-boosted-by-culture-recovery-fund/.

For the Canal & River Trust, 15 projects are being funded focussing on the replacement of lock gates, and lock and bridge repairs. This covers sites on the Coventry Canal, Grand Union Canal, Hertford Union Canal, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and the Rivers Lee, Trent, and Weaver.

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:

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding

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:

https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/funding/recovery/

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.

Amberley Museum Receives Emergency Support Funding

South East Industrial Heritage Network member Amberley Museum (based in a former chalk quarry in Sussex) received some good news at the end of April with confirmation that it has received emergency funding from Arts Council England to meet its core costs for three months.

The museum was the venue of the inaugural South East Industrial Heritage Network meeting in July 2019. The site encompasses 36 acres and over 40 exhibits, including de Witt lime kilns (complete with railway and locomotives), as well as transport and craft galleries, and the ‘Connected Earth’ telecommunications exhibition gallery.

The limekilns at Amberley Museum

However, Amberley Museum still need help in securing the long-term future of the industrial museum and have a launched a fund raising campaign, like many other IHN members. Find out more below:

https://www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/news/help-amberley-museum-to-open-again-after-covid-19

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.