HLF Digs Deep Into The Past With £17.6m In Heritage Funding

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 15 December 2006
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a photograph showing a coastline with cliffs and several bays

Durlston Country Park. Photo © Roy Eggleston

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is to pump £17.6million into five projects, which will uncover and explore the UK’s history.

Stretching from as far back in time as 185 million years ago up to the 20th century, the projects include prehistoric rocks, 18th-century horse-drawn carriages, a tin mine and an Edwardian tram.

“This Heritage Lottery Fund money will support an incredible variety of heritage whose importance has been recognised at a local, national and international level,” said Carole Souter, Director of HLF.

“Each of these schemes is unique and this investment will help protect our heritage for the enjoyment and appreciation of both present and future generations.”

Just over £3million has been earmarked to restore Durlston Castle in the heart of Durlston Country Park, transforming it into a centre for exploring Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic Coastline.

a black and white photograph of two miners with a drill and a pick

Geevor tin miners during the 1920s. Picture courtesy HLF

The area was recognised just over five years ago as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO who described it as "an outstanding example representing a major stage of earth's history and the record of life".

Durlston Castle will now be extensively repaired and refurbished to create a new gateway to this rich area of geology and biodiversity. The coastal exposures on the coastline provide a sequence of rocks documenting 185 million years of the earth’s history. 280 acres of cliff-top parkland is also home to over 500 species of plants, 250 species of birds and 34 species of butterfly.

The ongoing work at Europe’s largest preserved tin mine in Geevor, Cornwall will also be enhanced with the injection of a £2.26million HLF grant that will allow the development of an industrial heritage centre telling the fascinating story of hard rock mining.

Archaeological evidence suggests that mining activity at the Geevor site started at least as early as the Bronze Age, but modern mining began in 1911 when a group of expatriate Cornish miners returned from South Africa after the second Boer War. Tin mining continued throughout most of the 20th century and only came to an end in 1990.

a compuetrised mock up of a gallery with futuristic displays

Plans for Ulster Museum include a dramatic new ‘Hall of Wonders’. Picture courtesy HLF

Geevor Tin Mine is located on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic at the village of Pendeen, on Cornwall’s north coast. Its national and international importance was recently demonstrated when it was declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument and formed a key part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscapes World Heritage Site in July 2006.

19 of the mine’s historic buildings will be conserved and one of the buildings, the Top Fitting Shop, will be converted to house a new hard rock mining museum. Its status as an area of outstanding natural beauty will be safeguarded through a number ecological surveys and habitat management schemes.

In Luton an ambitious plan to create a Discovery Centre within Stockwood Park Museum has received a massive £3.7million boost from an HLF confirmed grant.

The Centre will focus on the themes of identity, community and the environment - explored through Luton’s rich pre-industrial history, which dates back to its foundation in the 6th century as a Saxon outpost on the river Lea.

The history of Luton’s urbanisation and transport system will be included in the new centre, which will incorporate green building techniques and solar panels, whilst the town’s last tram will form the centrepiece of the displays.

a colour photograph of a parkland covered in snow with a wall and statue in the foreground

South Marine Park gets £3.8million for renovation. Picture courtesy HLF

In Northern Ireland a confirmed grant of £4.7million, the HLF’s largest award in Northern Ireland, is contributing to the £12million redevelopment of Ulster Museum. The museum holds extensive collections of art, history, botany and zoology, geology, archaeology and ethnography encompassing all aspects of Northern Ireland’s rich history.

Plans include a dramatic new ‘Hall of Wonders’, the remodelling of the museum’s history and natural science galleries and a new rooftop gallery. The new history galleries will provide a comprehensive view of society over the past 10,000 years, from the initial populating of the Irish landscape to the present day.

HLF has also confirmed a grant of £3.8million to South Marine Park in South Shields, South Tyneside which will restore this Grade II listed traditional Victorian seaside park to its former glory.

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