Call for Proposals: Grade II ‘at risk’ – Testing the National Framework

English Heritage (EH) has released a call for proposals for a stage of local testing of an online training tool and framework for condition surveys for Grade II listed buildings, with the closing date for applications of 11.59pm on Friday 8 August 2014

EH writes:
English Heritage is developing a national framework, consisting of an online recording tool and accompanying training package, aimed at collecting and maintaining nationally consistent grade II data across the country, and providing volunteers with the guidance and skills required to undertake condition surveys. English Heritage is seeking local projects to test the usability and impact of this emerging framework through local implementation, in order to ensure that the tools which are being developed nationally are fit for purpose locally. 

EH call for proposals



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Heritage Exchange 2014 – Papers available online

The recent Heritage Exchange conference (held in London last week, and streamed live online) has released the papers from the conference.

The papers available are:

  • A place for heritage
  • Impact in the heritage sector
  • The (heritage) elephant in the room
  • Re-inventing heritage – a disruptive opportunity
  • Historic preservation – serving communities today

Heritage Exchange website

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THA manifesto launched

The Heritage Alliance (THA) has launched a manifesto for heritage, calling on all politicians to consider the socio-economic importance of heritage and fully acknowledge the educational and environmental contributions made through the maintenance and promotion of heritage.

THA writes:
The Heritage Alliance, the country’s largest alliance of heritage organisations, is calling on all political parties to commit to 12 amendments to national legislation and policy so that the benefits of heritage – social economic, educational and environmental – can be fully realised.

Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, says ‘In the run-up to the General Election, we need to see heritage recognised as the national asset it so clearly is.  A range of fiscal, social and energy policies affect our heritage as well as the more obvious planning regime. We want a policy framework that encourages individuals, businesses and local authorities to realise the power of our heritage, not wreck it through ignorance or neglect’

Launching The Power of Heritage (#THAmanifesto) today The Heritage Alliance asserts that the survival of England’s heritage – from our rich architectural tradition to our distinctive landscapes – depends on private, independent and public sectors being able to work together, and for whichever party comes to power in 2015, to create the right legislative environment to protect this huge source of national pride and which is a powerful engine for economic growth. ??The Heritage Alliance appeals for 12 changes that only a government can make that will motivate owners, managers, developers, charities and individuals to take better care of our heritage.

Top of the Alliance’s list is a change in VAT, a running sore for the heritage sector and beyond, which subsidises new construction over the repair, maintenance and adaptation of older buildings.  Reducing VAT from 20% to 5% for works to buildings in residential use would help keep over a third of England’s listed buildings in good condition for national benefit, and is within the power of the UK government, not the EU. ??Most of all, the Alliance’s long-standing principle of reducing risk to the historic environment and maximising its public benefit is reflected in the calls relating to the new Historic England, one of the two bodies that will succeed the current English Heritage in April 2015. The Alliance calls on all political parties to support the new Historic England and to review how well it is working in partnership with others. The Alliance singles out Historic England’s capacity building function, to enable others to take on more responsibility for our heritage, and in particular to develop its education and skills policies.

THA Manifesto

IHBC newsblogs on THA

IHBC newsblogs on VAT

IHBC newsblogs on heritage legislation

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EH renews commitment to work with NAAONB

Coastal image

Image of the Farne Islands courtesy of A McCandlish

English Heritage (EH) has announced that the 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England will continue to benefit from a joint working agreement with National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB). 

EH writes:
English Heritage and National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB) have renewed their commitment to work together to promote the conservation, understanding, and public enjoyment of heritage in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

From the Mendip Hills to the Northumberland Coast, AONBs are precious landscapes whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding it’s in the nation’s interest to safeguard them.  The original agreement was signed in 2004. Ten years on, the guiding principle of the historic environment being fundamental to the distinctive character and sense of place at each AONB is key.

Sarah Tunnicliffe, National Rural and Environmental Adviser at English Heritage, said: ‘The Joint Statement re-signing celebrates the continued working relationship English Heritage has developed with AONBs in England’

Howard Davies, Chief Executive for NAAONB, said: ‘English Heritage remains an important partner for the AONB Family across England. We welcome the renewal of this Joint Statement’. 

EH press release

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Growth deals to 2016 announced

Details of Local Growth Fund allocations in England have been announced, with funding for infrastructure projects, training and business throughout English regions, bringing together funding which was previously in different budgets. 

The Government Press Release states:
The first £6 billion of local projects has been agreed as the first wave of Growth Deals are being announced. This includes the complete allocation of £2 billion from the Local Growth Fund for 2015 to 2016, and, because the quality of the proposals was so high, in some cases commitments are being given for following years for important long-term projects so they can get underway.

In addition, discussions with local enterprise partnerships will continue, to prepare for future negotiations on the next round of Growth Deals to build on the momentum now established.

Growth Deals are a revolution in the way our economy is run. For the first time ever, housing, infrastructure and other funding is being brought together in a single pot, and put directly into the hands of local authorities and businesses to spend the way they know best.

Projects beginning in 2015 to 2016 are expected to be matched by local investments worth around twice the contribution from central government. Across the country they are expected to lead to work on more than 150 roads, 150 housing developments and 20 stations, as well as:

  • providing small business support services in every part of England and significant investment in skills training
  • working to improve educational attainment
  • getting more people from welfare to work

Some of the major projects that will be built as a result of these deals include:

  • £18 million to revamp the Metrolink transport system in Manchester, which will include 12 new trams, revamped stations and improved bus services. This is part of a £50 million transport package in Greater Manchester
  • £23 million for a new road tunnel linking Swindon to nearby Wichelstowe, creating thousands of jobs and opening up a new site for thousands of homes – this is just one of dozens of road projects which will get off the ground thanks to the Growth Deals the local enterprise partnerships have agreed with the government
  • millions of pounds for projects around the country to boost the skills that local businesses say they need, including £55 million for London’s Skills Capital programme; a Glass Academy in Sheffield to train people to work in the city’s glassworks and an Oil and Gas Academy in the Tees Valley – this not only helps businesses, but also young people who might struggle to get a job and take advantage as the economy grows
  • the creation of a new National Agri-Food Campus in York which will help the area become a global leader in food manufacturing, agricultural technologies, and bio-renewable sectors, creating up to 800 new jobs
  • funding for Birmingham to help the city make the most of HS2 – including improving connection to the Birmingham Curzon Street station so that the area can maximise the benefits in terms of investment, jobs and skills
  • support and advice for small and medium sized businesses, so that they can grow and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country – local enterprise partnerships will tailor this support to local needs
  • funding for a new engineering training facility at the MIRA technology park – delivered in partnership with North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, University of Leicester and Loughborough University. The centre will equip people with the skills to work in advanced transport engineering, a growing sector in Leicestershire and the surrounding area
  • support for a £1 million project to create the Silverstone Metrology Centre, a high precision measurement facility for small and medium sized enterprises working in high performance technology industries such as motorsports, enabling them to develop new products
  • funding for broadband networks in areas where provision is not currently available, such as remote areas of the North East

The Prime Minister said: ‘Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long-term plan to secure Britain’s future. For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised.  Growth Deals will help change all that. They are about firing up our great cities, towns and counties so they can become powerhouses.’

‘By trusting local people, backing business and investing in infrastructure, skills and housing, we can create thousands of new jobs. And that means more economic security, peace of mind and a brighter future for hardworking people across the country.’

The Deputy Prime Minister, who chairs the Local Growth Cabinet Committee, said: ‘We are ending a culture of Whitehall knows best. Decisions over spending on infrastructure, business support and housing are being made at a truly local level. It will help end our over-reliance on the banks and the City of London, and generate growth, jobs, and ambition in towns and cities all across England.’ 

UK Gov press release

UK Gov allocations

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In the press: Archaeology undervalued

The Independent has featured an article on the pressures faced by archaeology in the public and private actors.

The Independent writes:
From Richard III, the king under the car park, to the Roman skulls and Venetian gold uncovered by London’s Crossrail, British archaeologists have continued to unearth historic finds. But while the UK Festival of Archaeology opened yesterday with an extensive nationwide programme, the profession is finding itself under siege. A funding crisis has left it feeling undervalued, understaffed and reliant on volunteers… 

View the full article

IHBC newsblog on archaeology

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SPAB announces winners of John Betjeman Award 

The winner of this year’s award is St George’s Church, Hinton St George, Somerset, while Lanercost Priory and Tewkesbury Abbey were highly commended by the judges.

The SPAB writes:
The John Betjeman award is given to celebrate excellence in the conservation and repair of places of worship of any faith in England and Wales, although cathedrals are not eligible. It recognises and rewards the highest standards of conservation craftsmanship and the winning project is publicised as an example to others of good practice.  The award is made for specific repair to, or conservation of, a single element of a church’s fabric, fitting or furnishing and is given to the place of worship rather than to any individual associated with the work. It celebrates the project, the building and the community that cares for it.

Three very different projects were shortlisted – textile conservation at Lanercost Priory, stone repair at Tewkesbury Abbey and monument conservation at St George’s Church, Hinton St George, Somerset. The judges selected Hinton as this year’s winner by a majority vote. However, they found it a particularly difficult decision to reach given the quality of all the projects and agreed that Lanercost and Tewkesbury should both be ‘Highly Commended’.  All three shortlisted projects had a great deal to commend them as examples of good practice in sensitive repair. 

St George’s Church, Hinton St George, Somerset: Winner
The parish had been successful in securing grant support to repair the Poulett Chapel, which occupies the eastern end of the church’s north aisle, and conserve the collection of Poulett family monuments in the chapel.

The repair of the memorial to John, 1st Baron Poulet (d 1649) formed the final phase of this work and was carried out by Lynne Humphries and Emma Norris of Humphries and Jones Ltd?The monument’s conservation was informed by a preliminary conservation assessment and recommendations, and decision-making as the project proceeded was in close collaboration with the inspecting architect, Philip Hughes. A minimum intervention approach informed by documentary research and extensive trials was followed. ??Overpaint was removed to reveal underlying original scagliola and research indicates that this memorial might, in fact, be the earliest example of use of scagliola in England (dated to c1667-69). A survey identified embedded ironwork but this was only removed where it was accessible and its corrosion clearly damaging the memorial. The fabric was not opened in other areas to reach it. ‘Blown’ surfaces were consolidated and retained rather than being renewed. Barrier layers (Paraloid or Primal) were used between original fabric and conservation interventions: the work is, therefore, identifiable and reversible.

Fills (principally in Plaster of Paris) were specified to be lighter and less strong than the substrate, and toned in to harmonise with the original. Detached sections of original scagliola were salvaged and refixed. Gilding and paint were consolidated but not renewed. The monument, therefore, retains its faded appearance.??Interestingly, the conservators resisted remodelling missing elements such as the cherub’s face and principal figures’ missing arms as the visual and documentary evidence is not substantial and they wished to avoid conjecture.  Later crude additions, such as poorly-modelled arms, were removed.  However, a part of the original arm from one of the figures was identified amongst architectural fragments found in the chapel and has been refixed.

Lanercost Priory: Highly Commended
The parish received HLF funding to conserve the remarkable dossal designed for the church by William Morris in 1881. Installed at Easter 1887, the dossal, which is 705 cm long by 125cm deep, has remained in situ ever since. After initial gentle vacuuming to remove dust and insect debris, and carrying out trials, the dossal was cleaned by Royal Manufacturers de Wit of Belgium using their aerosol suction cleaning system, which removed significant amounts of air-borne soiling.

This gave a good result but, unfortunately, led to slight shrinkage of the dossal along its length. The parish wished, after conservation, to retain the dossal in situ in its original location, rather than treating it as a ‘museum object’ and placing it in a glass case.  It was, therefore, relined and rehung using Velcro fixings on a renewed wooden supporting frame, although the original hanging rings were retained. Later edging fabric which was not original to the dossal was removed, and the mouse- and moth-damaged bottom edge was consolidated using backing cloth dyed to match the faded original. Whereas crude mending darns were removed and replaced by smaller supporting patches applied to the back of the dossal, other mending and broken threads were retained where they were not actively damaging to the fabric. Steps were also taken to improve the environment in the church to assist with the long term care of the dossal.

A programme of environmental monitoring has been introduced to help manage temperature and humidity, and the parish has instituted a detailed monthly and yearly ‘housekeeping’ regime, drawn up with the conservator’s advice, to guard against insect pests and minimise light damage, for example covering the dossal with blackout blinds when the church is not in use.

The judges commended the parish’s careful approach to extending the life of this remarkable object, allowing it to age gracefully, and explaining clearly the judgements they had had to make and the justification for the work carried out.

Tewkesbury Abbey: Highly Commended
The Friends group funded the consolidation and repair of the remains of the former cloister on the south side of the Abbey, carried out by the Abbey’s architect Andrew Townsend with Hirst Conservation and conservator Sally Strachey. The cloister had been destroyed at the Reformation, leaving fragmentary remains – blind tripartite panels with a decorative trefoil band – on the south wall of the Abbey. Previously damaged by fire on more than one occasion and subject to unsympathetic cement mortar repairs the surface of the stonework was decayed. ?The project used a full range of lime-based conservation and architectural techniques, targeted to address particular problems, in order to consolidate the stone surface. The whole wall has been protected with a limewash shelter coat and by the addition of a simple lead-covered projecting roof to throw off rainwater.  ??The judges were impressed by the sensitive and minimal intervention approach taken to the project, through which the architect had succeeded in retaining the maximum amount of historic fabric possible and which clearly followed the SPAB’s guiding principles to a well-justified conclusion.

SPAB further details … 


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National crime helpline launched by Church Buildings Council

The Church Buildings Council has set up a national crime helpline for churches to use when a treasure is stolen.

When a theft is reported it will trigger an alert to auctions houses, museums and crime prevention agencies and will be an effective way of preventing the sale and permanent loss of treasures.

To report the loss of a treasure or artwork from your church, contact the Church Crime Alert Team on 020 7898 1860 or email

Full details from ChurchCare 

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Safeguarding pubs call: LGIU & CAMRA

Councils should make creative use of their powers to protect pubs from closure, a report from the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged.

The report found pubs are closing at the rate of 28 a week, despite almost all the 49 councils interviewed saying they considered pubs valued community amenities worthy of protection. Councils can use the National Planning Policy Framework to protect pubs as community assets, but too few do, according to the report.

It called on the Government to close loopholes through which pubs can be converted or demolished and for the removal of permitted development rights so that planning permission would be needed before a pub could be converted to another use.

A number of councils including Babergh, Lewisham and Cambridge had used article 4 directions to achieve this, it noted.

LGIU publications

Search Planning Portal

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Updated information for NHPP project applications

English Heritage (EH) has updated the information for applicants to the The National Heritage Protection Commissions Programme (NHPCP), which funds projects that support the National Heritage Protection Plan (NHPP), the ongoing sector-wide plan for heritage.

EH – further details

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Doncaster Minster reredos skills project

In keeping with the recent IHBC conference theme of ‘the art of conservation’ members may be interested to know that the ‘sharing heritage’ Heritage Lottery Fund award for Doncaster Cathedral will be used to showcase the art and craft of conserving the reredos.

HLF writes:
The project will not only physically restore and conserve the high altar reredos – a highly decorated screen behind the altar – it will help people to better understand the significance of the artwork/craftsmanship, by offering public talks and leaflets about it as well as an exhibition at the end of the work.

Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

Doncaster Minster is the main Church of England church for Doncaster and its surrounding area, and has had Minster status for 10 years. It is open to visitors every day of the week and a large team of volunteer guides and stewards aim to make everybody feel welcome. The Minster offers not only a range of worship but also hosts community and large-scale events such as Remembrance services, Armed Forces events and educational opportunities for individuals and groups.

The ‘Reredos Revealed’ project will bring a team of conservators together to restore paintwork, stonework and gilding behind the altar which includes portraits of Jesus and his disciples. Damage caused by water will be addressed and the overall effect will be to brighten the east end of the Minster. The restoration work will be visible so that visitors can see what is happening.  A catalogue of photographs will be taken throughout the project so that the changes are documented and people can fully appreciate the process. Young people from Doncaster College will have been involved in the cataloguing process, learning as they go and will create an exhibition later in the year.

Commenting on the award, Canon Paul Shackerley, Vicar of Doncaster, said: ‘People from Doncaster are very attached to their Minster and lots of visitors comment on how beautiful the high altar reredos is. The ‘Reredos Revealed’ project will really make the reredos sparkle again and the Heritage Lottery Fund grant in particular will help us to make sure that as many people as possible understand its importance. We can’t wait to see what it looks like after the restoration work has been done!’

Fiona Spiers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: ‘Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that Doncaster Minster and the people of Doncaster can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people, and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their area.’

View the HLF news release

IHBC newsblogs on heritage skills

IHBC newsblogs on funding

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IHBC’s digital social network update: 4000+ on Linkedin

The IHBC’s social network has grown rapidly in recent months, not least following the lively developments at the 2014 School, and now our Linkedin group has passed 4000.

Dave Chetwyn, IHBC past chair and lead Linkedin Group Manager, said: ‘The membership of the IHBC Linkedin Group continues to grow, with new members from all around the globe. There continues to be a diverse range of discussions, providing a platform for people to share knowledge and experience’.

IHBC Director Sean O’Reilly said: ‘The strength behind the IHBC’s Linkedin Group is that we welcome news, views and issues from anyone with a genuine interest in the conservation of historic places. It’s open to everyone, members and non-members, and easy to join too. Simply click the links, but do please note that we control access to minimize the inconvenience of ‘spamming’ for Group members. But all you have to do is: ask!’

‘As well as hosting discussions, we also highlight jobs, events and news items of interest to Group members. Non-members can catch up on current news and issues direct from the IHBC this way, of course, but with our competitive membership rates, great member benefits and support for low-waged and bursaries, you’re missing a trick if you are interested in heritage and don’t actually just join up’.

‘And now we have our on-line application system, it could not be easier to try out what we have to offer!’

To join the IHBC’s Linkedin Group, simply click on the Linkedin logo on the IHBC’s home page and follow the links.

To see just some of the IHBC’s membership benefits click on the ‘Benefits’ tab on the IHBC’s home page!

Don’t forget the IHBC’s ‘Webstarter’ introduction to our website, for students, trainees and researchers from all backgrounds and disciplines: LINK

Want to join IHBC? Join up online, by following the links from the IHBC’s home page, and get the IHBC’s benefits in full! See links from our Home Page at

Think it’s expensive to join? If you need financial assistance to help your career through IHBC membership, as a charity the institute can offer lots of support:

  • Income under £17,500: automatic half price rates
  • Income under £12,500: join up and apply for up to 75% or 100% financial support, subject to circumstances.

Follow the guidance at: LINK

Want to keep up to date but not as an IHBC Member? Keep up to date on key issues for free on the IHBC’s Linkedin Group, linked from the IHBC’s home page

To register your application to join the IHBC online simply go to: LINK 

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