Memorandum by the Heritage Lottery Fund
HLF is the UK's leading heritage funder, distributing
the heritage share of National Lottery proceeds. It is the only
heritage organisation that both operates UK-wide, and funds all
types of heritageincluding built heritage; museums, libraries
and archives; natural heritage; industrial, maritime and transport
heritage; and the heritage of language, dialect and cultural traditions.
HLF currently distributes 16.66 per cent of
the money for good causes and since 1995 has committed £3.3
billion in 18,000 awards to heritage projects. The aims of the
Fund are to:
conserve and enhance the UK's diverse
encourage more people to be involved
in and make decisions about their heritage;
ensure that everyone can learn about,
have access to, and enjoy their heritage; and
bring about a more equitable spread
of our grants across the UK.
The parent body for HLF is the National Heritage
Memorial Fund (NHMF), set up by the National Heritage Act 1980
with wide powers to fund heritage throughout the UK in memory
of people who have given their lives for the UK. The NHMF operates
as a fund of last resort, saving items of national importance
that would otherwise be lost. In its 25 years it has awarded £220
million for more than 1,200 projects.
Science is important to the work of HLF in a
number of ways. It routinely helps us and our applicants to determine
the best course of action for the repair or conservation of a
heritage asset; information technology helps people to experience
and enjoy heritage both at sites and on the worldwide web; we
are a major funder of the heritage of science, engineering and
technology at sites and in our public collections; and many of
our projects support the public understanding of science by enabling
the public to participate in scientific activities.
Our approach to conservation is distinctive.
We believe that understanding is a vital part of conservation
and we therefore ask larger conservation projects to prepare a
conservation management plan for their site or collection; this
is a single document which brings together information from different
scientific disciplines before key decisions are made about the
future of the heritage. In addition, we support the costs of the
investigations, scientific surveys and other specialist work necessary
to plan a heritage project.
We also believe that conservation disciplines
should collaborate. Many heritage projects involve more than one
kind of heritage: for example, the restoration of a public park
will often include work to historic structures as well as the
landscape and biodiversity; and many museums, archives and libraries
occupy heritage buildings. In such a situation, there can be competing
priorities: for example, achieving the environmental conditions
needed for the collection within a historic building. We therefore
ask applicants to consider all aspects of the heritage in an integrated
Conserving and enhancing our heritage is one
of HLF's three strategic aims and we are the largest funder of
heritage conservation in the UK. Since 1994 we have invested over
£1 billion in the conservation of more than 9,000 historic
buildings. We have given £680 million to land and biodiversity
projects and more than £1 billion to museums, libraries and
archives, where many projects have included the conservation of
nationally and internationally significant collections. Awards
totalling £90 million have supported archaeological projects.
There is no other major funding source for the
conservation of the United Kingdom's built and natural heritage.
Without our continuing investment it would not be possible to
conserve iconic heritage assets at risk, for future generations.
For example, major grants have enabled historic
ships, including the Mary Rose (awarded £5.3 million), the
Cutty Sark (£13 million) and the SS Great Britain (£8.8
million), to be restored, interpreted and opened up for the public.
On a smaller scale, but still of national importance, a grant
of almost £800,000 is helping to conserve and create access
to the unique medieval Newport ship. Our grant of £9.2 million
helped the British Film Institute to save the world's leading
collection of early moving images, conserving more than 60 million
feet of film, which would otherwise have been lost.
Two of these historic ships are good examples
of the application of innovative technology in HLF projects.
The SS Great Britain, the world's first iron-hulled,
steam-powered, screw-propeller ocean liner presents challenges
for conservators as severe iron corrosion is endangering the very
fabric which makes her unique. Conservators have constructed a
glass "sea"a horizontal glass plateat
the ship's water line to provide the roof of a giant airtight
chamber surrounding the ship's lower hull. The environmental humidity
beneath the glass plate is tightly controlled as Cardiff University
researchers, working with the ship's curators, have calculated
that by reducing the humidity to just below 20 per centroughly
equivalent to levels in the Arizona desertcorrosion can
be stopped. This technology has implications not only for conservators,
but potentially in other areas such as contemporary ship and vehicle
The Cutty Sark is the last surviving example
of a clipper built for the China tea trade, and is one of only
three surviving composite-built vesselsthat is a vessel
with a wrought iron frame to which teak and rock elm strakes were
fastened. The wrought iron is actively corroding and long-time
deterioration of the timber planking has also occurred. If the
deterioration continues unchecked there is a real risk that the
ship will disintegrate. Samples of the rot were analysed by Imperial
College who identified the decay as electrochemical. Portsmouth
Museum Service undertook an experiment to see if it would be possible
to halt the corrosion on this composite vessel as previously had
been possible on an all-steel vessel. Following the success of
this experiment, the Cutty Sark conservation project will treat
the frames and floors where the corrosion is severest by electrolysis.
It is unlikely that either of these major conservation
projects could have gone ahead without funding from the Heritage
HLF has also provided a significant level of
support for the heritage of science, engineering and technology
in the United Kingdom, both at heritage sites and in museums.
To March 2005 HLF had funded 990 projects in
the industrial, maritime and transport heritage sector, totalling
£590 million. Amongst other things, that funding has helped
conserve 42 locomotives, 44 historic ships, 22 watermills and
29 windmills. We have also supported the repair of major pieces
of technology such as the Anderton Boatlift. Industrial sites
of international significance such as Ironbridge and Blaenavon,
now recognised as World Heritage Sites, have benefited from HLF
support to preserve them and make it possible for the public to
visit and understand their importance to our heritage and economy.
We have also supported many of our museums of
science and industry with an investment of over £154 million
to date. We are helping to create the innovative Darwin Centre
II at the Natural History Museum in London; we have supported
all branches of the National Museum of Science and Industry, including
the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford
and the National Railway Museum in York; and among smaller museums
with specialist collections we have made awards to the Rotunda,
a geological museum in Scarborough, the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum
in Cornwall, and the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of
Surgeons as well as the three national mining museums of England,
Scotland and Wales.
HLF is helping one of our most important scientific
institutions, the Royal Institution, to restore and open up the
row of four 18th-century townhouses which it has always occupied,
to improve the storage of its significant collections, and to
enhance public access to science research activity and the work
of scientists. Our grants have also made possible enhanced public
access to heritage sites associated with the work of scientists
such as Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, and Edward Jenner's
home, now a museum, in Gloucestershire.
One of HLF's three strategic aims is to ensure
that everyone can have access to and learn about our diverse heritage.
We have funded many projects which make innovative use of technology
HLF is helping organisations overcome the barriers
that prevent people with disabilities experiencing heritage sites
and museums. We have funded a virtual reality tour of Anne Hathaway's
cottage in Stratford-on-Avon, a timber-framed thatched cottage
which is largely inaccessible to people with limited mobility,
and at Tyne and Wear Museums we funded a project to create hand-held
visual guides for people who have a hearing impairment, where
information is presented in British Sign Language.
Digitisation of documents in our heritage collections
is greatly improving public access and reducing the need to handle
rare and fragile original material. Hundreds of unique local newspapers
have been preserved and made accessible by the Newsplan project;
awards totalling more than £6 million have enabled The National
Archives to put online seven million catalogue entries for documents
in more than 400 different archives throughout the country; many
community heritage projects have created web-based collections
of photographs and other heritage material that local people value
and want to share more widely.
HLF FUNDING FOR
In 2000 HLF carried out research which found
serious gaps in a wide range of skills across all heritage areas.
As well as shortages of heritage craft skills the research identified
problems in skills development for conservators. As a result we
put in place a number of initiatives including more encouragement
for applicants to include skills apprenticeships and training
for volunteers in projects and a requirement for projects over
£1 million to have a training plan.
Recognising a growing lack of specialist heritage
skilled workers, we launched a Training Bursary Scheme in 2004.
To date we have awarded £7 million to 10 partnerships which
will offer traditional training apprenticeships and work-based
learning placements at heritage sites. For example, the Institute
of Conservation will award 60 bursaries in a UK-wide scheme for
object, textile and paper conservation; and the Institute of Field
Archaeologists will offer 32 bursaries in archaeological skills
including desk-based assessments, geophysical survey, human remains,
artefact research and conservation. Hampshire County Council will
offer 16 bursaries in traditional engineering conservation skills
for road vehicles in collections, including steam-powered vehicles,
cars, commercial vehicles and bikes.
One of our aims is to enable more people to
participate in decisions about our heritage. We have funded a
wide range of projects where people acquire the necessary skills
and experience through scientific investigations of heritage.
The York Archaeological Trust is helping people
to get involved in recording their local heritage, using geophysical
equipment and historical sources, and experts are training the
public in fieldwork, finds identification and conservation. At
West Blyth the local community is studying the sea fishery, the
health of the North Sea, the sand dune system and the sea defences.
During National Insect Week, 180 primary school children from
inner city Bradford are investigating insect life by doing fieldwork,
helped by entomologists from the Royal Entomological Society and
at Benjamin Franklin House in London a Student Science Centre
will enable young people to re-create important experiments from
Franklin's time in London.
The Heritage Lottery Fund's investment of more
than £3.3 billion in the heritage of Britain has been underpinned
by the scientific investigations required to plan and manage both
large and small conservation projects and has funded major conservation
projects that have employed new and innovative scientific techniques.
In addition a not insignificant share of this investment has ensured
that our scientific and technological heritage will still exist
for present and future generations to enjoy. The Government is
currently consulting on the future shares of Lottery income for
the good causes; it is vital that we at least maintain our share
in order to continue to support conservation and public involvement
at this level.
13 February 2006