AIA E-News Bulletin Out for October 2020

The latest e-news bulletin from the AIA is out with short articles on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK industrial heritage sector; Rebuilding Heritage grant fund; AIA planning news; AIA restoration grants; top endangered Victorian sites for 2020; the campaign to save Dorman Long Tower; bid to raise £8m to restore Scottish Flax mill; the AIA conference and Merseyside gazetteer for 2020/21; Historic England industrial heritage webinars; and the Society for Industrial Archaeology YouTube Channel. Details below. More AIA news here:

  Industrial Archaeology e-News Bulletin October 2020  

Welcome to the Association for Industrial Archaeology’s regular e-news bulletin. Read on for updates on what we’ve been doing recently, and other industrial archaeology news from the UK and beyond. If you have a story you think we should feature in a future bulletin please get in touch.   You’re being sent this because you’re on our list as the contact point for an Affiliated Society or other Group, Society, Department or Institution. In these times when we are largely unable to meet people in person we hope you will forward this email to the members of your group or in some other way make them aware of its content. It’s another way of telling your group that it remains active as does the AIA. You can unsubscribe or change who receives these emails using the links at the bottom of the email.    

Impact of COVID-19 on the UK industrial heritage sector  
  Update from Michael Nevell, Industrial Heritage Support Officer for England and retiring AIA Chair

From July, industrial heritage sites and organisations began to re-open in the UK, as the Government eased the measures taken to contain the first wave of the pandemic. By the end of August almost half of the industrial archaeology and heritage sites presented to the public in England had re-opened. A similar level of re-opening was seen in elsewhere in Britain.

However, mass events such as fairs and rallies have been cancelled, and 46 industrial heritage sites in England have announced that they will remain closed until next year. During lockdown some industrial heritage sites suffered vandalism and trespass, with incidents recorded at preserved railways, like Bowes, Churnet, and Peak Rail. Since re-opening, admission numbers have been limited due to COVID, with online booking the norm. Redundancies have also been announced at several sites and the long-term impact on the financial viability of many attractions remains unclear, particularly with further local and possibly regional lock downs now looking likely over coming months.

But it’s not all gloom. The sector is responding in creative ways. Many groups have embraced new digital technologies. Berkshire Industrial Archaeology Group is offering free membership for 2021 to encourage people to access their digital events. Twelve preserved railways raised £3m from the public in emergency appeals by the end of August, and many industrial archaeology and heritage sites have received emergency funding from Historic England, CADW, the Scottish Government, the National Heritage Lottery and the Arts Council. Awards from the Cultural Recovery Fund were announced last week and included support for a number of industrial heritage sites.

Although I step down as Chair of the AIA at the (delayed) AGM in October 2020, I shall be continuing to monitor the impact of COVID on our sector through my role as IHSO for England. I’m keen to collect lockdown stories and experiences of recovery across industrial heritage so please do get in touch by emailing me at    

Rebuilding Heritage offers support for the heritage sector
  Rebuilding Heritage is a free support programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) to help the heritage sector respond to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Support will be open to all and designed in response to training needs raised by the sector. Rebuilding Heritage is coordinated by The Heritage Alliance and will be delivered in partnership, drawing on expertise from Clore Leadership, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Creative United, and Media Trust. It will deliver support through a range of methods including dedicated individual and group sessions, as well as open access webinars and resources. The first wave of support will be themed around Ways Out Of Crisis, Full details are coming soon. For more details please visit the Rebuilding Heritage website. There is also an option to share your thoughts about what support your organisation needs at this challenging time.    

AIA Planning News  

The AIA is opposing plans to demolish the North Tawton Woollen Mills in Devon (picture credit   The AIA continues to monitor and advise on planning applications that affect important former industrial sites. In the last three months, these have included the former Linotype Engine House Building in Altrincham, Hewson’s Mill, in Barton on Humber, and the warehouse and stables at the former Fuchs lubricant works in Belper. One long-running case concerns the North Tawton Woollen Mills in Devon, where previous attempts by AIA and other heritage bodies to ensure sympathetic restoration of the historic buildings have been met with a revised application by the developer to demolish them.  
Aerial view of the Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool © Historic England

Everton FC have submitted an application to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock on the banks of the River Mersey in Liverpool. The dock, which was still in use until last year, is listed Grade II and lies within the World Heritage Site. Whilst there is widespread support for the scheme, some details, particularly the plan to infill the dock itself, are opposed by a number of organisations, including UNESCO and Historic England, who are pressing for the scheme to be referred to the Secretary of State. Read more about the Bramley-Moore Dock plans on the Historic England website.

AIA Restoration Grants

Middlewich Brine Pump (picture credit Winsford and Middlewich Guardian)

Restoration of Murgatroyd’s Brine Pump in Middlewich, aided by funding from AIA’s Restoration Grant Scheme in 2018, is nearing completion, after suffering delays due to Covid-19, and is due to open around September. Project Manager Kerry Kirwan explained that ‘Middlewich is very rich in history but doesn’t have a museum, so the community can’t engage with its own heritage.’ The restoration of the brine pump will help to fill that gap. Read more about the Brine Pump project on the Middlewich Heritage Trust website.
  ‘Desmond’ locomotive in 2004 (picture credit West Wales Chronicle)  

One of the 12 AIA restoration grants made in 2020 was £18,000 towards the restoration of the 1906 saddle-tank locomotive Desmond. The work will bring it back to steam on the Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway. The locomotive has undergone a substantial programme of restoration, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The AIA grant will allow this work to be completed. Read more about the Desmond restoration in this recent article in the West Wales Chronicle. Since 2009, the AIA has awarded nearly £750,000 to support industrial heritage conservation projects across the UKMore details of all of the AIA Restoration Grants can be found on the AIA website.    

Top ten endangered sites announced for 2020
The Anglo Bavarian Brewery in Shepton Mallet is one of the three industrial sites listed on the Victorian Society’s 2020 endangered sites list  

There are three industrial sites in the Victorian Society’s list of Britain’s Top Ten endangered buildings for 2020. The Grade II-listed Northgate Malt House Building, in Newark-on-Trent, which dates from 1864, has been disused since 1964. The Bracebridge Pumping Station in Worksop, also listed Grade II, is deteriorating rapidly pending conversion to apartments. The third industrial site is what is believed to be Britain’s first dedicated lager brewery, the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery, in Shepton Mallet. This was built in 1864 and listed Grade II*, but is now largely vacant. Read more about the 2020 endangered sites list on the Victorian Society website.    

Campaign to save Dorman Long Tower  

  Dorman Long Tower (courtesy of  

A campaign has been started to save an iconic piece of Teesside’s industrial past from demolition. The Dorman Long tower was built in the 1950 to store coal for the steel-works coke ovens and now stands as a proud landmark to a once great industry. Calls to save the tower, and the Redcar blast furnaces and coke ovens, have been raised since the closure of the steelworks in 2015. Sign the online petition to save Dorman Long tower.    

Bid to raise £8m to restore Scottish flax mill  

  Silverburn Flax Mill (courtesy of Silverburn Park)   Plans have been announced to restore the derelict Grade B-listed Silverburn Flax Mill in Leven, Fife, to create a backpacker’s hostel, arts studios, meetings and events spaces and public toilets for the public park which adjoins the mill. The campaign to raise the £8m needed for the project was launched in September 2020 with the symbolic delivery of the first consignment of flax to arrive on site for over a century. Visit the green space Scotland website for more details about the Silverburn Flax Mill appeal.    

AIA Conference and Gazetteer
As announced in the last e-News, AIA’s planned 2020 conference in Liverpool has been postponed until 2021. However, it was decided to proceed with the publication of the accompanying Guide to the Industrial Heritage of Merseyside. Copies of this have been sent to all AIA members. Non-members can purchase a copy, along with most other past conference gazetteers, from the AIA web site.

Find out more about the AIA gazetteers and order back copies.    

Historic England industrial heritage webinars  

Historic England has launched a series of free training webinars to provide online learning on a variety of heritage topics. Several of these include sessions directly relating to industrial heritage, with contributions from Shane Gould, Historic England’s Head of Industrial Strategy, outgoing AIA Chair Mike Nevell, and Dr Joanne O’Hara of Somerset West and Taunton Council, talking about the role of enforcement powers in tackling industrial listed buildings at risk. The webinars are available on the Historic England website.    

Society for Industrial Archaeology YouTube Channel  

Our industrial archaeology cousins in the United States, the Society for Industrial Archaeology, have recently launched a YouTube channel hosting video presentations on various industrial archaeology subjects. There are around 15 videos to view at present, with more being added all the time.
Visit the Society for Industrial Archaeology’s YouTube channel.     If there are other people in your organisation who might like to receive this in future, please contact

The Association for Industrial Archaeology
Promoting the study, preservation and presentation of Britain’s Industrial Heritage

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