Chichester's Guildhall. © Chichester District Museum
English communities affected by mining activities have been awarded £433,000 in financial assistance to help them repair historic monuments including a guildhall and a 14th century castle.
The money has been provided by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), specifically for sites situated on or near to working aggregate sites. English Heritage have distributed the money on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to reduce the impact of aggregate extraction on the historic environment, both on land and under the sea.
“The environmental impacts of quarrying and transport of sand, gravel and stone can have significant effects on communities close by,” said Barney Sloane, Head of English Heritage’s Historic Environment Commissions.
“What we are trying to do is lessen this impact by helping to ensure that deteriorating but much-loved and nationally important historic buildings in such communities are repaired so that they can play a stronger role in sustaining and restoring a sense of pride and place now and for the future.”
Chichester’s Guildhall (West Sussex) is an Ancient Scheduled Monument and Grade I-listed. Dating back to 1269, it’s a rare example of a Franciscan church still with a roof, and after its use changed following the Dissolution, it became the town hall and court room, hosting famous trials such as that of William Blake in 1804. Now a museum, £72,000 from the ALSF will go towards roof, guttering and window repairs.
The neglected state of the Prince of Wales pumping engine house. Courtesy English Heritage
Ayton Castle, Scarborough, is to receive £85,000 for the stabilisation of the building fabric and the basis of an information centre. The repair project will involve the local community in researching the history of the area.
In East Cornwall, the Prince of Wales Mine at Harrowbarrow is an important part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Its grant from the ALSF will be used to conserve and make safe the pumping engine house, a classic example of a Cornish engine house, which embodies the pioneering spirit of these practitioners of deep metal mining.
Two Cumbrian churches will benefit, St Mary’s Church, Dalton-in-Furness, and St Michael’s Church, Arlecdon and one in Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire (Christ Church). In Northumberland, £11,000 has been awarded to Biddlestone Chapel, Netherton, for repairs and the production of a guidebook.
Finally, Beaumont Park in Huddersfield will have its ornate Victorian gateway repaired with its grant of £44,000.
Over the year 2007-2008, English Heritage will distribute £4 million from the ALSF in total. The majority of this is spent on research into archaeology under areas favoured for aggregate extraction and the publication of results. Funds also go towards raising awareness in communities and aggregates companies of the relationship between the industry and the historic environment.