English Heritage is embarking on a project to find out how much of the country's industrial heritage is at risk of neglect, decay or even demolition and to raise the debate about what needs saving and how. It will reveal the results of its Industrial Heritage at Risk research, including what the public think, in October this year at the launch of the annual English Heritage Heritage at Risk register.
Dr Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: "Places like Ironbridge Gorge, Caphouse Colliery and the Great Western Railway are some of England's best known and best loved landmarks. But everywhere we look there are textile mills, coal mines, canals, railways, warehouses, brick works, potteries, breweries, gas works, wind and watermills, ports, docks and harbours - and other remains of the Industrial Revolution, that great era spanning from 1750 to World War I when Britain led the world.
"This period of British history shaped our place in the world, it shaped the lives of our forebears and laid the foundations of the modern age in which new forms of industry emerged - telecommunications, car manufacture and food processing. Today the places where we live and work still look largely the way they do because of the industry that went on in them.
"But much of this heritage is now at risk and the current economic climate isn't helping. Owners are finding it hard to look after their buildings as well as their businesses. Developers are cautious about taking on vacant industrial buildings and public bodies and regeneration agencies are less able to support schemes for re-use. There are no easy answers but we're determined to see what can be done to help. Our industrial past is too important to ignore."
English Heritage aims to get owners, developers, local people, voluntary bodies, academics, professionals and politicians involved in debating the future of industrial heritage before it is too late. In October it will reveal how much of our listed or scheduled industrial heritage is at risk and what the threats are, and will propose possible ways forward.
It is inviting members of the public to visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/industrial-heritage-at-risk for more information and to post photographs and comment on favourite industrial buildings on a Flickr group run in association with the Council for British Archaeology and the Association for Industrial Archaeology.
The English Heritage Heritage at Risk register provides an insight into the condition of the country's listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parks, gardens and battlefields, protected wrecks, conservation areas and listed places of worship. It gives communities - local people, local authorities and the larger community of both official and voluntary heritage groups - accurate information about the condition of local neighbourhoods. It encourages them to become actively involved in restoring what is precious to them, and ensures that public funding goes to the most needy and urgent cases.
Some Of England's Best Known Industrial Heritage Sites Are:
The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site
The Great Western Railway from Paddington to Bristol
The Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, Shropshire
Birmingham Jewellery Quarter
The Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent
Farnborough Aviation Wind Tunnels, Surrey
Battersea Power Station, London
Tower Bridge, London
Royal Gunpowder Factory, Waltham Abbey, Essex
Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Derbyshire
Anderton Boat Lift, Cheshire
Liverpool World Heritage Site
Caphouse Colliery, Wakefield
Saltaire World Heritage Site, West Yorkshire
Ancoats Mills, Manchester
Tyne Bridges, Newcastle