The largest ever research project into the condition of England's industrial heritage was published today (Wednesday 19 October, 2011) by English Heritage together with its annual 'Heritage at Risk Register'. English Heritage polled people in the East Midlands to see what their attitude towards industrial heritage was.
The results showed
- 85% agree that it is important we value and appreciate industrial heritage
- 74% think it is just as important as our castles and country houses
- 69% think industrial heritage sites should be reused for modern day purposes as long as their character is preserved
- 50% of people agreed that industrial heritage sites made them feel proud of their local area
The region has a wide variety of sites ranging from the lead mines of the Peak District and the collieries of the East Midland coalfield to the textile mills and workshops of the Derwent valley, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire and the renowned boot and shoe factories of Northamptonshire. Derbyshire tops the list for the most amount of at risk industrial sites (For full list of see end of release).
The East Midlands 'Heritage at Risk register' reveals:
- Just over 8% of sites on the Heritage at Risk register in the East Midlands are industrial, this means the region has the third highest amount of industrial heritage at risk in the country (coming behind the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber respectively)
- The East Midlands has a wide range of industrial heritage at risk with the highest proportion being textile mills (55%) followed by transport industries such as canals (20%) and coal mining (15%)
From the iconic Derbyshire Pleasley Colliery, recently restored with the help of ex-miners, to Sleaford Maltings in Lincolnshire, the largest floor maltings in Europe and soon to be converted to offices and homes, the East Midlands has a wide range of industrial heritage to be proud of.
However for every site on its way to being restored and reused there are other sites in need of repair; As part of the Snibston Discovery Park, Snibston Colliery makes an important contribution to the economic and social well-being of Coalville and North West Leicestershire but fresh impetus is needed to make sure these nationally significant buildings at risk are repaired, whilst part of Desborough Conservation Area in Northamptonshire is under threat of demolition as plans for a new supermarket are being considered.
It is vital that decision-makers recognise the significance of industrial heritage as a vital part of the nation's rich legacy. Strutt's West Mill at Belper demolished in the 1960s or Elkesley Pumping Station in Nottinghamshire, stand as stark reminders of two iconic industrial buildings that have been lost forever.
Anthony Streeten, English Heritage Planning Director for the East Midlands, said: "Britain led the way in global industrialisation and as a result we are custodians of some of the world's most important industrial heritage in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. As traditional manufacturing across the East Midlands has shrunk over the years, we have a responsibility to safeguard the visible reminders of our industrial heritage. Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that significant survivals from our industrial past do not fall prey to dereliction, decay and ultimately demolition.
"It is not easy to decide what we should save - or how. But where there was innovation, enterprise and quality of design in the past, so there can be again in the creative and imaginative new uses that both developers and social enterprise are finding for industrial buildings - including new advanced manufacturing, the sorts of technology, green engineering and creative and inventive businesses on which the country's economic future now depends. And where, as our poll shows, there is a strong passion for this defining element of our past, treasuring these buildings can spark the regeneration of whole areas of our towns and cities."
"For those elements of our industrial heritage that are not suitable for adaptation by developers and businesses, the East Midlands has contributed positively to the strong national tradition since the 1960s of local groups taking on the preservation of their distinctive industrial heritage."
In response to these findings, English Heritage is launching a national four-point action plan which will include;
- help for developers through a new section on the English Heritage website offering advice on re-using industrial buildings;
- help for owners, a new guide to keeping buildings safe from decay or in "meanwhile" use until better economic times;
- help for heritage rescue groups, where commercial reuse is an unlikely option, a rescue by a charitable building preservation trust might provide the answer;
- help for industrial sites preserved as visitor attractions, English Heritage is to part-fund an Industrial Heritage Support Officer to set up a network of support and advice for trusts and voluntary groups.
Industrial heritage sites at risk in the East Midlands
- Cromford Mill, Buildings 1, 17, 18, 26 and Aqueduct, Mill Road
- Stodhart Tunnel, Hayfield Road, Chapel en le Frith
- Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site consisting of: North Mill, Bridge Foot, Belper and Darley Abbey Mills (Long Mill, West Mill, North Mill, Engine House, Boiler House, preparation building, cottage, workshop and cart sheds), Old Lane, Derby
- Road archway and footbridge (including offices), Bridge Foot, Belper
- Coke ovens, Dronfield
- Torr Vale Mill, New Mills
- Walton Works, Walton Fields Road, Brampton, Chesterfield
- Darley Abbey Mills, Derby
- Four bottle kilns at TG Greens Pottery, Swadlincote
- Terminal (trans-shipment) Warehouse, Peak Forest Canal, Whaley Bridge
- Haarlem Mill, Wirksworth
- Horseshoe Weir, Belper
- Pleasley Colliery, Chesterfield Road, Mansfield
- Howard Town Conservation Area, Glossop
- Bennerley Viaduct, Broxtowe
- North Leverton Windmill, Bassetlaw
- The Station Conservation Area, Nottingham
- Snibston Colliery, Ashby Road, Coalville
- All Saints Conservation Area, Leicester
- St George Conservation Area, Leicester
- Ashton Mill
- Desborough Conservation Area
- Former maltings of Bass Industrial Estate, Sleaford, Lincolnshire
- Sneaths Mill, Lutton
- Torksey Viaduct