The Mining Institute and Common Room have been successful in securing £4.1m of a total £8.6m in National Lottery grants which will preserve UK’s industrial heritage
Projects focussing on the industrial heritage of cities and towns across England and Wales have been awarded National Lottery funding to support the regeneration of key buildings,high streets and landscapes.
The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers in central Newcastle, which houses an extensive archive of the industrial revolution, telling the stories of how the North East changed the world, will be rescued with a £4.1m grant.
The Institute, founded in 1852, was the first professional mining institute in the world, aiming to “advance the science and art of mining” and to bring down the death toll and accidents in the industry. However, 166 years later, the building was at risk of being sold, and the collection dispersed.
This new cash injection will revitalise the Grade II listed building and digitise the largest single collection of mining material in the world. The Institute will become the Common Room for the Great North, a public space telling the story of the North East’s industrial past, and inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.
Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room project, said: “We are over the moon to have secured funding to revitalise the Mining Institute.
“This enables us to create an accessible, inspiring, high quality space, with a mission to use our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers.
“The Institute helped build the North East, with its innovations having global impact. We will now be in a position to open this heritage back up to the region that created it, as The Common Room, and provide inspiration and engagement for the whole region and become a landmark again.”
As well as preserving a historic building and collection, The Common Room will serve as a hub for education and training, for industrialists to shape the future of the region and for apprentices to be trained and meet their peers. The project team will build on partnerships and support gained from the Reece Foundation, Caterpillar and Nissan.
A range of public spaces will provide space for educational workshops and lectures, as well as events such as live music and comedy.
National Lottery funding has been awarded to three other projects preserving and regenerating post-industrial areas across England and Wales: Townscape Heritage projects will rejuvenate historic areas of Blaenavon in South Wales and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire; and Nottinghamshire County Council and local partners have been awarded funding to involve residents in uncovering and sharing Sherwood Forest’s industrial and mining past.
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:
“British industry, manufacturing and engineering changed the world. Places like the Mining Institute, and communities such as those in Nottinghamshire and Blaenavon, were pivotal in this important moment in our history. That’s why we’re investing £8.6m to help local communities reconnect with their heritage and to explore and celebrate our industrial past. “We believe that Britain’s powerful industrial heritage has a role to play in encouraging future generations to pick STEM careers. These four projects will not only inspire new talent, but also provide much-needed training and educational opportunities.”
More information on these further projects is detailed below:
Blaenavon’s Townscape Heritage – £1.2m
Blaenavon Industrial Landscape was ascribed World Heritage Status in 2000. The local area is home to National Lottery-supported Big Pit, the last deep mine in the area, as well as an ironworks dating back to 1789. The town and the reminders of lost communities across the hillsides tell the story of the people who drove the Industrial Revolution. In more recent years, the town has seen an economic decline, following the reduction of coal and iron production in the area.
Torfaen Borough Council has been awarded £1.2m for a project regenerating the town’s main trading street, boosting the local economy and promoting Blaenavon as a World Heritage Site and tourist destination.
Many buildings in the area are tired and require repairs, and vacant business spaces could be brought back into use.
Councillor Alan Jones, Executive Member for Business, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said:
“I would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for this funding which will allow us to deliver a Townscape Heritage Programme within our World Heritage town.
“The funding will help us to support local property owners to make heritage-based improvements to their properties, improving the look and feel of the town centre to make it a more attractive place to visit and do business.
“The small town of Blaenavon and its people played such an important part in the industrial revolution and the development of the modern world, and this funding will ensure that we can continue to keep their memory and the town’s heritage alive for future generations.”
Sherwood Forest’s Industrial Landscape – £2.4m Nottinghamshire County Council and local partners have been awarded £2.4m for From Miner to Major: The Real Sherwood Forest. Though best-known as the home of Robin Hood, the project will tell another story of Sherwood Forest, encouraging former coal-mining communities to examine the area’s post-industrial landscape.
Former spoil heaps will be restored as heathland, protecting the area’s rare species, while volunteers will be encouraged to get involved in projects to investigate archaeology hidden beneath the forest.
Local communities will be given the skills to knowledge to look after the landscape, through restoring vital heathland, protection and conservation of ancient trees, and local history projects mapping Sherwood over the past 100 years.
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities & Place Committee, said:
“This is fantastic news. It reflects the national importance of the Sherwood Forest area as well as all the years of hard work that has been put in by colleagues and partners to secure this vital funding. We can now make our plans a reality.
“It is particularly pleasing that local young people, via youth forums and workshops, have been closely involved in the development of our bid. We have listened carefully to what they have had to say, after all, this project is very much about the future of the Sherwood Forest area and making sure it remains a special place for many generations to come.”
Mansfield’s Market Place Conservation Area – £849,100
The historic market town of Mansfield saw huge transformation during the Industrial Revolution, with trades booming in malting, cotton production and framework knitting. Coal mining was also one of Mansfield’s main industries throughout the 20th century, and the town saw violent scenes during the Miners’ strike of 1984-85.
A grant of nearly £850,000 will see a number of properties within the boundary of the Market Place Conservation area in central Mansfield repaired, with historic features and traditional shop fronts being reinstated.
Community programmes will also promote the heritage of the area, with heritage skills workshops on offer to building owners and tenants, oral histories of the town being recorded for the future, and activities such as walks, heritage trails and even street parties highlighting the area’s history.
Cllr Dave Saunders, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth at Mansfield District Council, said:
“This is great news for Mansfield Town Centre, our businesses and residents. Thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this vital funding and our partners Mansfield BID, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottinghamshire County Council who worked with us to create the successful bid.
“The conservation area around Mansfield Market Place contains some of our most unique and historic buildings. This Townscape Heritage project will preserve the character and use of these important architectural assets for future generations and improve the appearance and vitality of the town centre, which is part of our long-term vision.”