Canal and Rivers Trust seeks heritage trainees

Following the announcement of an £811,000 grant to the Canal and Rivers Trust in May by the Heritage lottery Fund (HLF), 42 waterways Heritage Trainees are now being recruited to work on the project, which includes practical work in stonemasonry and maintenance.

The Canal and Rivers Trust writes:
The Trust is recruiting 42 people to keep alive the traditional techniques that were used to construct the waterways across the country more than 200-years ago. Trainees will learn the arts of lime mortaring, stonemasonry and carpentry, among other skills that are essential to maintaining and improving the network.

£607,000 of the overall £811,000 for the scheme comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund – Skills for the Future programme, the Radcliffe Trust is contributing £9,000, the Norton Foundation providing £2,000 with the Trust providing the remaining funds. The project – called Waterway Heritage Skills – will see fourteen trainees recruited each year for three years, with each post lasting 12 months. They will work alongside the Trust’s staff across the country on projects such as the winter stoppage programme that this year saw 141 new lock gates replaced and major work to lock chambers and masonry. Through this work current experts will pass on their unique experience to the next generation of heritage workers.

Nigel Crowe, head of heritage at the Canal & River Trust, said: ‘Our waterways are home to such a rich variety of the nation’s industrial heritage, engineering marvels that continue to stand up to the rigours of modern day life two centuries after they were built. We’re looking for new recruits to learn the skills that will keep our locks, bridges and other structures in the condition that people rightly expect. This means using traditional materials, like stone and lime mortar, and specialised conservation  techniques, There can’t be too many industries where these age-old skills endure to the present day, so this really is a unique opportunity for someone to take on, and I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch.’

Canal and Rivers Trust press release

Find out how to apply

IHBC newsblog on waterway skills

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Renewable energy community groups gain £500,000 funding

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced details of £500,000 for rural community energy projects across England under the Rural Community Energy Fund

DEFRA writes:
Thirty local renewable energy projects stretching from Cornwall to Cumbria are celebrating being the first recipients of the government’s Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) this year, with over £500,000 assigned to help develop bespoke projects across England.

The first 30 projects receiving funding represent a spectrum of technologies, including community scale anaerobic digestion, solar power, hydro and wind as well as renewable and low carbon heat networks. All have sought government support to help raise funding to help realise their ambitions, enabling them to implement environmentally friendly sources of energy at a local level.

In Cumbria, RCEF is supporting a project which aims to provide heat directly to a local primary school from a community owned anaerobic digestion facility. This will also generate income from the sale of electricity to benefit other community projects, in a future community group partnership with four farms.

Thanks to RCEF, a community group in the South West of England is one step closer to realising its ambition of siting solar panels on commercial and community buildings in its market town, and investing the income into local energy related projects.

A joint initiative between Defra and DECC, the £15 million Rural Community Energy Fund was created to help community groups based in rural areas develop their own local renewable energy projects. Administered by resource efficiency experts WRAP, the fund provides up to £150,000 of funding to individual projects for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help them become investment ready.

Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Dan Rogerson said: ‘This fund will strengthen the rural economy, safeguard the environment, and will allow communities to unlock the potential of renewable energy. Since launching we’ve seen a wide range of projects given the green light and I urge more people to apply and make the most of this opportunity to get their local project off the ground.’

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker said: ‘It’s great to see so many communities across the UK benefitting from local clean energy. I want to see more communities becoming producers of energy – powering schools, market towns and community centres sustainably – and boosting their economy at the same time.  It’s initiatives like this that are so important for achieving my vision for the Big 60,000 and I wish WRAP every continued success.’

More projects are currently going through the assessment process, and many more are expected to receive financial support over the six year lifetime of the fund. WRAP will manage the fund for the duration.

UK Gov press release

IHBC newsblogs on RCEF

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Planning & heritage in the 2014 Commonwealth Games

A citizen journalism initiative has been reporting on some planning, heritage and regeneration around the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with a profile of a community empowerment initiative in Dalmarnock (where the Athlete’s Village is), the Commonwealth related work of Glasgow City Heritage Trust and a ‘green legacy’ architectural exhibition.

Read more about the ‘Destination Dalmarnock’ project decoding the language of planning for local residents on #Citizen2014 website

Article on Glasgow City Heritage Trust architectural exhibition and education around ‘green legacy’ on #Citizen2014 website

Find out more about the environmental legacy exhibition (featuring sustainable architecture)on #Citizen2014 website

IHBC Context the Heritage of Sport

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STBA- SPAB Technical Panel papers

Research and technical papers relating to the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA)- SPAB Technical Panel in June are now available for download.

The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance and SPAB held a conference in June on energy efficiency and traditional buildings, the proceedings and presentations from this event can now be downloaded online. 

View Dropbox files for download 

Heritage Hub notes STBA website

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Call for Entries – St. David Awards

The Welsh Government is seeking nominations for the St. David Awards, which cross nine categories (including culture and citizenship), with a closing date of 28 October 2014.

The Welsh Government writes:
The St David Awards annually recognise and celebrate the exceptional achievements of people in Wales. They acknowledge people who are making a real difference for this country – either at home or abroad. They are great marks of distinction and the highest accolades that Welsh Government confers on our citizens nationally.

The Awards reflect and promote the aspirations of Wales and its citizens to be a modern, vibrant country, with a growing reputation as a confident and clever nation valuing innovation, community spirit, and above all its people.

They operate over the entire country – they are the ‘awards of awards’ and the natural destination for all those who have won other sectoral or community awards. 

St David Awards

IHBC Awards etc

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IHBC Members’ Survey – Final Reminder!

One day to go until the close of the Members’ Survey but there’s still time to have your say in the IHBC’s forward planning priorities and future governance.


Survey closes on 31 July.

Report on 1st survey

See the first survey NewsBlog

See our current Corporate Plan, for 2010-2015

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Dame Jenny Abramsky: ‘Heritage isn’t just about stately homes’

Dame Jenny Abramsky, 67, is stepping down after six years as chair of the Lottery Fund and in an interview with the Telegraph says that “heritage is so much more than beautiful buildings.”

The Telegraph writes:
The headquarters of the Heritage Lottery Fund are based in what may be the unloveliest building in Chelsea. It sticks out like a sore thumb among the elegant squares and Victorian mansion blocks that grace this part of town. But it also fits rather well with Dame Jenny Abramsky’s mission statement. “I feel very strongly,” she says, “that heritage is so much more than beautiful buildings.”

“My definition is really anything that people value and that they want to hand on to the future. That can be a memory, a culture, a butterfly in Yorkshire or a fantastic landscape in Scotland, as well as a building that has been derelict in the centre of a small community and which, if they could just turn it into something, would transform that community.

“If you talk to ordinary people, it’s very much about the urban landscape in which they live.” She gives an example of M Shed in Bristol, a dockside museum charting the history of the city. Part of the HLF grant helped save two cranes that stand nearby. “They were going to get rid of them. Local people said: ‘But they represent who we are in Bristol.’ It would have been a tragedy if they’d gone.”

Dame Jenny, 67, is standing down next month. Her one sadness is the number of worthy applications the HLF has to turn down. Eight years ago, it funded 70 per cent of applications. Now the figure is 35 per cent. “Sadly we’re having meetings where we have 10 projects that meet all the criteria and we only have the money for four. And we’re probably the only game in town now.”

In her swansong public speech, she warned this is “a pivotal moment for the heritage sector”, which has seen government and other cuts of £2 billion since 2010.

Telegraph interview 

Independent article


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Town Centres are adapting to consumers’ needs

British high streets’ study shows how town centres have risen to the challenge of online shopping and out-of-town retailers.

UK Gov writes:
Researchers at the University of Southampton reveal how ‘fundamental’ changes to Britain’s ‘convenience culture’ are transforming the way we shop and bringing new business into town.

New High Streets Minister Penny Mordaunt today (29 July 2014) welcomed the study’s findings as proof the country’s most dynamic and flexible town centres were experiencing a retail resurgence despite the competitive pressures of internet shopping and out-of-town stores….

In one of the most definitive studies into consumer habits ever conducted in Britain, the University of Southampton Retail Research Group discovered there has been a ‘fundamental shift’ in what consumers mean by ‘convenience’ shopping….

“Convenience retail in town centres/high streets, both independently and corporately owned, has experienced significant growth over the past 15 years, a growth sustained during the economic crisis and subsequent period of austerity,” the report finds.

That trend is expected to continue over the next 5 years, with convenience stores accounting for a quarter of the entire grocery market by 2019. Over the same period the market share for superstores is expected to fall from 42% to 34.9%.

The study also concludes there has been a ‘modest resurgence’ in specialist retailers such as ‘artisanal bakers, butchers and tea and coffee merchants’ on high streets were independent stores stand alongside big high street names.

UK Gov press release

The Great British High Street Report

For background info search IHBC NewsBlogs

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Your Chance to Make History!

English Heritage is asking the public to help with an on-line archive of aerial photographs (Britain from Above) showing the impact of the First World War on British soil.

English Heritage writes:
Temporary First World War buildings in St James’s Park, Westminster, London. During the First World War, the lake was drained so that reflection from the water would not attract enemy aircraft. The civil service almost doubled in size and temporary government buildings were built in the park and lake basin.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “There are 95,000 aerial photos on the Britain from Above website so we really need help! We’re calling on members of the public to turn detective and use their local knowledge or family history to identify the many unlocated remains of the First World War across the country.”

Britain from Above is a four-year project, funded through a £1.7m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, run by English Heritage to conserve, digitise, catalogue and make available online a unique collection of photographs taken by the pioneering Aerofilms company over the course of the 20th century.

EH article

Britain from Above website

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Time travel top choice is the building of Stonehenge

English Heritage has announced details of a survey which it undertook to discover which historical events Britain would most like to witness, with the construction of Stonehenge being the most popular choice, and 68% of respondants wishing to learn more about their history.

EH writes:
The building of Stonehenge by our prehistoric ancestors, the evacuation of Dunkirk, and the Romans’ defending of Hadrian’s Wall are the top three moments in England’s history that people would like to travel back in time and witness, according to a new English Heritage poll.

Ahead of launching its biggest ever summer of live events, English Heritage asked more than 2,000 adults to choose from a selection of moments from England’s history they would most like to experience first-hand.  The lifting into place of the enormous stones at Stonehenge around 5,000 years ago topped the poll with almost half of those surveyed (47%) wishing they’d been there to see it.

The masterminding of the evacuation of British soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches during the Second World War (34%) was the next choice, and seeing Roman soldiers patrolling Hadrian’s Wall (26%) was in third place.

Watching Victorian scientist Charles Darwin conduct his revolutionary experiments from his home in Kent and the first Viking raid at Lindisfarne Priory were also popular choices.  Over two thirds (68%) of respondents said they wished they knew more about history and nearly half (47%) of people planned to visit a historic place this summer.

This week English Heritage launches six weeks of living history events across the country, including medieval jousts, knights and princess training academies for kids and the chance to meet characters from the past, including some of England’s most famous kings and queens.

Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage, said:  ‘There are so many things we don’t know about Stonehenge and perhaps that’s why it topped our poll, with people wanting to discover more about who built the stone circle, and why.  It is great that there is such an appetite for history. While English Heritage can’t literally take people back in time, we can offer the next best thing – the chance to experience those places where history was made.

‘Over the six week summer holiday English Heritage will host its biggest ever summer of historical events providing fun, entertaining and inspiring days out for families, culture fans and those keen to find out more about England’s stories.’

EH press release

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Culture Secretary visits GSA and looks forward to its restoration

Glasgow School of Art Fire

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, visits the Glasgow School of Art to see how £5 million of UK Government funding will help in its restoration.

DCMS writes:
The fire at the school on 23 May damaged the 1907-1909 section of the internationally significant Mackintosh Building and the Culture Secretary today visited the school.

The UK Government has committed an additional £5 million to go toward the costs of creating the school’s Graduate and Research Centre, which was announced by the Chancellor on Tuesday 22nd July. This is on top of the £5 million the UK Government announced last month for the school’s Mackintosh Appeal, which aims to raise £20 million to help with repairs.

The fire has meant the school’s plans to create a revolutionary Graduate and Research Centre has lost momentum and the £10m Government investment, will help the school achieve its ambitious future.

Sajid Javid said:

“The damage done by the fire to the magnificent Mackintosh Building is terrible but what really hits is the loss of students’ work and the many hours of creativity and dedication they poured into it.

“The resilience shown by the staff and students since the terrible fire is a real inspiration.

“I’m pleased the Government has been able to help secure the future of the Glasgow School of Art and I look forward to returning to see the Mackintosh Building when it has been restored to its former glory.”

UK Gov article

For background info see IHBC NewsBlogs

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