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A4 Bittern chimes through Welwyn North
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News

News and updates from The Heritage Alliance team.

More of the latest news from The Alliance, our members, and from across the independent heritage sector, can be found in our fortnightly e-bulletin, Heritage Update.


The Heritage Alliance announces Joint Winners of Heroes Award 2014

December 16, 2014

The Heritage Alliance announces Joint Winners of Heroes Award 2014

In the fifth year of the Awards to recognise outstanding volunteer contributions to our heritage, The Heritage Alliance’s Chairman, Loyd Grossman, presented the Heritage Alliance Heroes Awards 2014 to joint-winners The Save Preston Bus Station Campaignand Howsham Mill, during The Alliance’s Annual Heritage Day at the Glaziers Hall in Central London on 4th December 2014.

Generously sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance, The Heritage Alliance Heroes Award Scheme was established to celebrate the outstanding contribution to society made by heritage volunteers in England.

Loyd Grossman commented:

“It is fantastic to award this year’s heritage heroes award to both Howsham Mill and Preston Bus Station who represent the power and passion of volunteers throughout the heritage sector.”

“The hundreds of hours of volunteer work which has gone into rescuing Howsham Mill and giving it a new life as an education centre generating hydro-electricity, makes it an outstanding candidate for this year’s Heritage Heroes Award.”

“The Save Preston Bus Station Campaign demonstrates the hard work and tenacity of volunteers in saving a formerly unloved and unprotect example of Brutalist architecture. While the volunteers were often diffuse and expressed within a range of social networks, their coming together of interests represents a public re-evaluation and democratisation of the building’s value. ”

For more information and to see the videos from the joint-winners, see the Heritage Alliance website. Pictures from this year’s winners are also avilable eon Flickr here

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Heritage Open Days awarded funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Heritage Open Days awarded funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries announced that the players of People’s Postcode Lottery have awarded £125k to Heritage Open Days, as funding for the 2015 festival.

Speaking at Heritage Day 2014, he called the festival an ‘English Institution,’ adding that ‘the future of this popular celebration of heritage is secured for another year.’

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery will co-fund Heritage Open Days, alongside £100k from English Heritage and in-kind support from the National Trust [Alliance member]. People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery whose players support charities across Great Britain and globally; to date players have awarded over £53.8 million to good causes.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said:

‘I am delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are able to support Heritage Open Days. It is so important to maintain these historic sites to ensure their preservation for generations to come, and it’s great to know that funding from players will help this.’

Heritage Open Days celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014, smashing all previous records with three million visitors and over 4,600 events. ‘It’s wonderful that players of People’s Postcode Lottery will be supporting Heritage Open Days in 2015,’ said Loyd Grossman, patron of the festival. ‘The record-breaking success of this year’s event shows how passionately people feel about local history, and how essential it is that Heritage Open days continues to flourish and prosper in the coming years.’

Heritage Open Days 2015: Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th September
www.heritageopendays.org.uk

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The Heritage Alliance welcomes new trustees

The Heritage Alliance welcomes new trustees

Following The Heritage Alliance AGM on Thursday 4th December 2014, the Heritage Alliance is delighted to confirm three new trustees: Ian Baxter, Head of Suffolk Business School, University Campus Suffolk; Roland Jeffery, Director of the Historic Chapels Trust; and Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Princes Regeneration Trust.

These follow the stepping down of Crispin Truman, Churches Conservation Trust, David Souden, Historic Royal Palaces and Catherine Croft, Twentieth Century Society. The Chairman, Loyd Grossman, recorded his thanks to the outgoing Trustees at Heritage Day 2014.

For more information about The Heritage Alliance’s Trustees and Chairman, see our website here.

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Heritage Day 2014

Heritage Day 2014

Heritage Day 2014, held by The Heritage Alliance on 4th December at the Glaziers’ Hall, proved even more popular than ever attracting some 200 leading representatives from the heritage sector to meet, network and discuss the challenges of the day.

The morning AGM gave members the opportunity to hear and question Deborah Lamb, Head of Government Advice at English Heritage, on the proposals for the new English Heritage model. Sir Philip Mawer, Chairman of the AllChurches Trust – the charity which owns Ecclesiastical Insurance, the Alliance’s generous core sponsor – gave a presentation on the grant making policy and future strategy of the Trust.

The Afternoon Session saw the spokesmen of the three main political parties address the audience on the value of our heritage today: Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy for the Conservatives, Baroness Bonham-Carter for the Lib Dems and – newly in post since the previous evening – Chris Bryant, Shadow Culture Secretary for the Labour Party. The Q&A session featured questions on seaside piers, skills, volunteers, and on VAT from UKIP heritage spokesman William Cash.

Loyd Grossman as Chairman of the Alliance spoke on the achievements past and present of the independent heritage movement, its changing nature and relationship with government before presenting the fifth Heritage Alliance Heroes Awards to volunteer groups, Save Preston Bus Station and Howsham Mill, see here.

The Afternoon Session is available on film at http://www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/heritage-day-2014/. Images from the day can be found on The Heritage Alliance Flickr page here. You can also follow the Heritage Day conversation on twitter using the #heritageday hashtag.

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Heritage Update #291 is out!

December 12, 2014

Heritage Update #291 is out!

The latest Heritage Update e-bulletin is now out Friday 12th December and emailed directly to our subscribers.

Heritage Update is our voice to, and for, the sector. The popular fortnightly e-bulletin offers policy updates, news, a consultation round-up, events / course listings and job vacancies. Update reaches an estimated 14000 mailboxes in the UK and internationally, with readers as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Antarctica, Istanbul and California.

The most recent back copy (7th November) and all other archive copies can be downloaded here. To subscribe and receive a copy directly to your inbox two weeks before it’s available online, please sign-up here

Click here to read #291

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Heritage Update #290 is out!

November 21, 2014

Heritage Update #290 is out!

The latest Heritage Update e-bulletin is now out Friday 21st November and emailed directly to our subscribers.

Heritage Update is our voice to, and for, the sector. The popular fortnightly e-bulletin offers policy updates, news, a consultation round-up, events / course listings and job vacancies. Update reaches an estimated 14000 mailboxes in the UK and internationally, with readers as far afield as Abu Dhabi, Antarctica, Istanbul and California.

The most recent back copy (7th November) and all other archive copies can be downloaded here. To subscribe and receive a copy directly to your inbox two weeks before it’s available online, please sign-up here

Click here to read #290

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Sussex Heritage Trust becomes a member of The Alliance

November 20, 2014

Sussex Heritage Trust becomes a member of The Alliance

We are delighted to announce that Sussex Heritage Trust has become the latest member organisation of The Heritage Alliance taking our membership to an all-time high of 97!

Founded in 1977, Sussex Heritage Trust works to preserve, improve and encourage the appreciation of the architectural and natural heritage of Sussex. It achieves this through taking an active interest in Sussex conservation issues, reporting on Buildings at Risk, working with local authorities, and running the Sussex Heritage Trust Awards 2014.

For more information about Sussex Heritage Trust, visit their website. Our members form a key part of our organisation without whom we simply would not exist.

Thanks to the support of our members, like the Sussex Heritage Trust, we act as a powerful advocate for England’s heritage and lobby for legislation and policies to ensure the benefits of heritage – social, economic, educational and environmental – are realised by Government, communities and individuals. For more information about becoming a member organisation of The Alliance see our website.


Heritage and Identity: What makes you who you are?

Heritage and Identity: What makes you who you are?

Is heritage just a socially acceptable version of tribalism? Has social media produced a culture of ‘place-less’ relationships? These were some of the central themes explored in a major public debate on heritage and identity held at Newcastle University on Wednesday 5th November 2014.

The questions of how heritage affects people’s sense of identity and what heritage a North Easterner or Geordie would single out as shaping their sense of self were also on the agenda for the debate. The event was sponsored by specialist heritage insurer Ecclesiastical and held in partnership with University of Newcastle’s The International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies.

The discussion was chaired by Peter Stone, Head of the University’s School of Arts and Cultures. The audience of academics and heritage specialists heard from panel members Graham Bell, Europa Nostra Council and Director North of England Civic Trust, Izzy Mohammed, Audience Engagement Coordinator, Library of Birmingham and Dr Rhiannon Mason, Senior Lecturer in Museum, Gallery, and Heritage Studies. Their substantial presentations are online here.

Attendees, readers of the Newcastle Journal and local MPs were invited to respond to 4 questions about symbols and characteristics of the North East in the Journal’s piece http://tinyurl.com/oqp2w67 by 10th November.

The Debate series forms part of the Alliance’s #heritagedebate series. For more information about our previous events across England, and to download speeches from the event see The Heritage Alliance website. The Chairman of The Heritage Alliance, Loyd Grossman, also explains why the Alliance’s latest debate on heritage and identity was held at Newcastle University in the North East and gives his opinion on the most powerful site in the North East in a blog here.

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The future of traditional farm buildings at stake

The future of traditional farm buildings at stake

The Heritage Alliance, through its Rural Heritage Advocacy Group and Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, has held a workshop discussing the future of traditional farm buildings on 10th November 2014.

Held at Hendall Manor Barns in East Sussex, and Chaired by the Head of Heritage at the Country Land and Business Association [Alliance member], Jonathan Thompson, the workhop looked at creating a collective strategy to ensure that traditional farm buildings have a viable future across England. The workshop first outlined the current problems that traditional farm buildings face, and was followed by a series of case studies of various solutions from subsidy, via agri-environment scheme to good quality conversion to new uses. 

In the first session, Vince Holyoak, Head of Rural and Environmental Advice, English Heritage, spoke [links to presentation] on the value of traditional farm buildings, the evidence base, the issues and opportunities they face, alongside the planning and land management context. This included an analysis of the National Planning Policy Framework, Greater Flexibility for change of use, and information on area and site assessments. This was followed by Jo Barnes, Historic Environment Specialist, Natural England, who spoke [links to presentation] about public funding relevant to traditional farm buildings, agri-environment scheme funding, and the New Environment Land Management Scheme.

In the second session, Ben Greener, The Heritage Lottery Fund, provided an outline of the Heritage Enterprise funding scheme, and how this can be used within the context of Traditional Farm Buildings. Anthony Peers, Deputy Chair, Ancient Monument Society [Alliance member], provided [links to presentation] an alternative perspective of the future of traditional farm buildings through looking at the Cheshire Plain, showing that unlike other parts of the UK, there overriding issue is a relative lack of demand for, and economic viability of, converted farm buildings. Finally, Judith Norris, from the Rural Planning Practice, argued that the policy is there to support the conversion of traditional farm buildings either through the NPPF or NPPG, but it is he way it is interpreted where the policy dilemma lies. 

This was followed by an afternoon session, chaired by the chairman of the Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, Henry Russell, who looked at collective strategies including moving the debate from one of ‘planning battles’ to a debate on design. 

A flickr gallery from the day is also available here. For more information, about the Heritage Alliance’s Advocacy Groups, see our website here.

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Heritage and Identity: Thoughts from the Chairman of The Alliance

November 7, 2014

Heritage and Identity: Thoughts from the Chairman of The Alliance

Loyd Grossman Chairman of the Heritage Alliance explains why the Alliance’s latest debate on heritage and identity was held at Newcastle University in the North East and gives his opinion on the most powerful.

We hold these Heritage Debates because we want to stimulate new thinking on the benefits of our heritage to us all and so far we have explored the following topics:

  • Heritage & Tourism,
  • Heritage & Television
  • Heritage & Profit
  • Heritage & Philanthropy
  • And now, Heritage & Identity

We sometimes find that the outcomes of academic research do not always reach the public policy audiences for which they are intended. Our aim is to hold events that bring together researchers working on heritage issues with people working in the heritage sector. It is part of our communications remit.

These debates help transmit new ideas, to ensure that the new perspectives generated through research are understood by those formulating policy and practice in relation to heritage, and that the major challenges facing the heritage sector are understood by researchers.

Understandably, we have been focussing on the economic benefits of our heritage for the past few years. But more and more, policies in the run-up to the election are looking at ideas around individual well-being and social cohesion.

Yet the body of research of how heritage contributes is relatively underdeveloped in this area. There is less agreement about how the individual impacts of heritage contribute to concepts like social capital, community cohesion, social inclusion and civil society.

We believe that heritage can be used positively in helping government achieve many of its goals. Heritage can be a significant focus for local communities, helping to bring people together, to define local identity and to foster a new understanding of ourselves and those around us.

Identity in global terms is already well recognised:

The connection between identity and places is well borne out by the importance of heritage to the tourism industry. Heritage is part of the UK brand. In 2013, the UK ranked 5th out of 50 in terms of being rich in historic buildings and 7th for cultural heritage (National Brand Index), a 3rd in Overall Brand Ranking in 2013.

For businesses, the historic environment creates distinctive, enjoyable and successful places in which to live and work. Businesses occupying listed buildings are found to be more productive than those in unlisted buildings. The historic environment can be as important as road access in deciding business location.

There is of course also a downside. Heritage has sometimes been used and abused in framing identities. Plenty of nationalist states have polarised their citizens by citing historic symbols in support of their political views.

In the Scottish referendum, heritage was used by both the Yes and the No campaigns to support their cause. Historic Scotland hoped to keep their sites neutral but inevitably Bannockburn and Stirling Castle were used to invoke all the historic connotations.

Scotland and Wales today may feel more Scottish and Welsh than they did ten years ago. Yet in England, people may not find it as easy to distinguish what it is to be English.

Regional and local identities are perhaps less contentious.

One thing our heritage allows us to do very well is to recognise regional diversity and differences. A place-based sense of belonging allows us to define identities through civic rather than ethnic identities.

So what better place to come together to discuss heritage and identity than the North East?

That is why in association with this debate, we asked, in association with the Newcastle Journal,the debate attendees, Journal readers, North East MPs, these four questions:

  1. What is the most powerful symbol of your constituency or neighbourhood?
  2. What is the most powerful symbol of the North East (Durham, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Cleveland)
  3. If you had to describe the North East in 3 words what would they be
  4. What characteristics do you think make up a true Geordie.

My own thoughts on these questions are the following:

If I, an American by birth, were asked to say the most powerful symbol of the North East, I would have to have three, all very powerful, visual images:

  • Durham Cathedral, a World Heritage Site, is one of the great buildings of Europe, it puts the North East in a European and world wide context where it belongs. 
  • Hadrian’s Wall, another Word Heritage Site, because that feeling of being a frontier is still important, psychologically as well as historically.
  • The Newcastle bridges as a symbol of regeneration and of connecting communities, showing that a city like Newcastle can survive the rise and fall of major industries and still demonstrate that phoenix quality that all great cities have.

And if I had to describe the North Easterners – I wouldn’t dare bundle them all together as Geordies – in three words, I’d say:

  • Humorous
  • Neighbourly 
  • Industrious

Whether or not you agree with me, I have remarkably strong opinions, stronger than, say I would, if you asked the same question for the South East.

So I wonder, how safe is the North East’s cultural heritage and identity. In ten years’ time will the North East have kept its heritage. Is an industrial past more resilient in terms of its striking visual images? Or is its future more at risk than an area with more classic heritage architecture.

If we agree that there is a strong contemporary regional identity here, how has the North East achieved this? Is there anything the North East can teach us about the connection between protecting and preserving heritage and that feeling of belonging?

And if you have strong views on this topic or any other heritage related issues, we would be happy to hear from you via email mail@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

I look forward to seeing you at our next events.

Loyd

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