Not just castles: Historic England offers grants to ‘ordinary’ places like pubs and townhouses | Heritage

Historic England is launching a program to find ordinary and overlooked places that celebrate England’s working class heritage.

The public body, which runs the official register of listed historic buildings and nationally protected sites in England, searches for municipal estates, factories, mines and other ‘neglected historic places’ that tell an important story about the England’s past.

On Wednesday, it will invite community and heritage organizations to apply for a new Everyday Heritage Grants program. Grants of up to £25,000 will be awarded to projects which shed light on the hidden history of local places and buildings, with a particular focus on those where ‘ordinary people’ have worked, lived or socialised, such as terraced houses, pubs, clubs, farms. , shipyards and railways.

“It’s about recognizing places that mean a lot to people whose stories aren’t necessarily often celebrated,” spokesman Sean Curran said, adding that rich, historic sites are all around us.

“You don’t need to visit a castle to be interested in heritage – you probably do this every day by visiting your local high street, on your way to the corner shop or the train station on your way to work. These are places with a very rich heritage and social history, and sometimes they are forgotten.

As early as 2011, a survey by Historic England found that 85% of respondents thought England’s industrial heritage should be valued and enjoyed, and four in five (80%) thought such heritage was as important to preserve as were castles and bastides. A 2017 survey had similar results.

“There’s definitely an appetite to celebrate working-class heritage,” Curran said. Previous buildings which Historic England has recognized through listing or recorded through grants include the Salford Lads Club, a Grade II listed young men’s country club, and the Byker Estate, where the TV show from the BBC Byker’s Grovewhich launched the careers of Ant and Dec, was founded.

The Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne. Photography: Islandstock/Alamy

Curran said the new grant scheme would allow Historic England to see how communities tell their own stories. “I come from a mining family in Sunderland, and I can imagine a draft interview with people who remember their parents working in the mines,” they said.

Grants are likely to be awarded for oral history projects of this type as well as proposals such as guided walking tours, artist collaborations and the creation of digital resources. The goal is to find ordinary, everyday places and then find out what’s extraordinary about them, Curran said. “Hopefully we’ll discover stories we didn’t know about.”

Historic England also hopes to fund projects that provide innovative volunteering opportunities for young people or for people facing loneliness and isolation, as well as contributing positively to the well-being of participants.

Only £300,000 in grants are available in total, so the organization is keen to stress that it is particularly interested in funding small local projects requiring £10,000 or less.

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Heritage, said: “Our heritage belongs to all of us and should be accessible to all. I welcome plans for new community-led projects to tell the story of workers across the country, bringing our collective and shared history to life.

The application deadline is May 23. “We’re really excited to see the creative ways people come up with recognizing heritage,” Curran said.

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