The restoration of Ancoats Murray Mill was amongst many of the projects announced yesterday at the Chapter House in Westminster Abbey as the two successor bodies to English Heritage set out their plans for the years ahead.
The restoration of one of London’s greatest Art Deco mansions, a £52m conservation programme for many of the country’s most important historic sites, a new project that invites the public to add information to the official “list” of listed buildings, and a definitive study of the Staffordshire Hoard will join an array of projects as from the 1st April, English Heritage is spilt into two new organisations.
Historic England, will be the new name for the public body that champions and protects England’s historic environment, everything from prehistoric remains to post-war office buildings, and The English Heritage Trust, a new independent charity, retaining the name English Heritage, will look after – on behalf of the nation – the National Heritage Collection, consisting of more than 400 historic sites across England including Stonehenge, Dover Castle and some of the best preserved parts of Hadrian’s Wall.
The new English Heritage charity will use a Government investment of almost £80m to bring and keep the story of England alive through a major programme of interpretation, presentation and conservation. This will allow the stories of individual properties to be fully told and will help the new charity towards self-funding status. English Heritage already engages with over 10 million people each year.
Historic England will champion the historic environment all around us. It will provide expert advice, promote constructive conservation, carry out research and give guidance and grants to everyone from local communities to national policymakers, from owners of listed and older homes to volunteers saving a building at risk.
Historic England will also licence the new English Heritage charity to look after the sites in the National Heritage Collection and appoint trustees to the charity’s board.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “For both the people who live here and the scores of visitors who flock to our shores, England’s heritage is easily one of our greatest national assets. But preserving our heritage cannot just be about protecting buildings, we have to understand them better and be able to explain their value and importance to the world.”
“The new model launched today allows for just that and will give these bodies the freedom they need to explore new and entrepreneurial ways of protecting, promoting and bringing our heritage to life. By safeguarding our nation’s heritage in this way we will continue to attract visitors to our heritage sites, boosting the country’s tourism industry and driving economic growth for many years to come.”
Among the many projects the coming year will see the launch of a major £52m conservation programme ,the biggest in the history of the National Heritage Collection – which will clear the backlog of the highest priority repairs at sites across the country including Hadrian’s Wall in the North, Queen Victoria’s family home, Osborne, in the South, Framlingham Castle in the East, and Iron Bridge in the West.
Following a pilot programme next year, English Heritage will establish a new in-house team of expert stone-masons, providing an invaluable resource of traditional crafts and skills.
Next year will see the opening of a new museum at Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire, which will tell the 900-year story of the abbey and display its nationally important collection of artefacts. There will be new online access to more than 620,000 historic photographs of cities, towns and villages all over the country.
The new resource, to be known as England’s Places, is the digitised version of our famous Architectural Red Boxes and will make it possible to delve into the past of favourite places, while this summer, hundreds of volunteers will get involved in surveying the condition of local grade II listed buildings.