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The AHF appreciates that neglected buildings which are all too familiar in our towns, cities and countryside can, with a little imagination and a lot of enthusiasm, be rescued to become assets for their communities by people wanting to make a difference. The AHF has helped hundreds of organisations throughout the UK to do exactly that.

News Source

AHF opens doors for Theatre Campaigners

Harriet Roberts

Architectural Heritage Fund provides grant support for Burnley Empire Theatre Viability Study

Release date: 20 January 2017

Campaigners fighting to rescue and restore a derelict theatre in Burnley have received good news this week.  The Architectural Heritage Fund has agreed a Project Viability Fund grant of £4000 towards the second phase of the Burnley Empire Viability Study which will allow the group to undertake a buildings evaluation and assess whether the theatre has a commercially viable future.

The funding was applied for by Theatres Trust, on behalf of the Burnley Empire Stakeholders Group, and will be matched by funding raised by Burnley Empire Theatres Trust (BETT).  Other members of the Stakeholders Group include Burnley Council, Burnley College, the University of Central Lancashire and Burnley and District Civic Trust.  The first phase of the Viability Study was funded by Theatres Trust and Burnley Council, and concluded in December 2016. The overall aim of the Viability Study is to identify a sustainable future for the Grade II Burnley Empire, and provide support for further funding bids which are likely to be needed to restore the theatre.

Burnley Empire has appeared on the Theatres Trust Theatre Buildings at Risk Register for 8 years. Designed by local Burnley architect G B Rawcliffe, the building was reconstructed and enlarged in 1911 by renowned theatre architect Bertie Crewe. The building, which it is believed served as the wartime home to the Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Sadler’s Wells Opera, has now lain vacant for over 20 years, and is in a poor state of repair.

Ian Morrison, Chief Executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: ‘Thanks to support from Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and through a team of regional support officers we are able to help local people who feel passionately about rescuing historic buildings at risk. Our grants enable groups to take those first important steps to restoring and regenerating properties which have both heritage and community value.’

Claire Appleby, Architecture Adviser Theatres Trust said:  ‘Theatres Trust, the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, has long been concerned about the future of this theatre.  We have been delighted to support the commitment shown by its local community which has resulted in the formation of BETT, and have enjoyed working with BETT, Burnley Council and other stakeholders to identify a future for this building. We are incredibly grateful for this support from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which will play an important role in this.’

Credits: Photography courtesy Craig Simpson & Mark Salmon


Burnley Empire Theatre

Former AHF Deputy Chairman, Roy Dantzic, receives MBE in New Year honours list

Architectural Heritage Fund

The AHF is delighted to note that our recently retired Deputy Chairman, Roy Dantzic, is to receive an MBE, as announced in the New Year honours list. 

By the time of his eventual retirement from the AHF Board in April last year, Roy had completed almost 15 years of dedicated service to the AHF, the last five years of which he served as Deputy Chairman. He was exceptionally busy throughout that period with both executive and non-executive roles, and yet he remained completely dedicated to the AHF, rarely missing Board and Committee meetings and always ensuring the charity’s financial affairs and strategic direction were properly scrutinised and adjusted as necessary to cope with external pressures. The AHF, and the UK’s architectural heritage more broadly, has benefited enormously from his passion, commitment and selfless service over the last 15 years. Roy’s MBE is well-deserved. Congratulations Roy from all your friends at the AHF!


The AHF also welcomes the New Year honours for Clare Pillman, Director at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and for Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of the Churches Conservation Trust, Janet Gough, formerly Director of Cathedral and Church Buildings at The Church of England, and Trevor Cooper, Chairman of the Ecclesiological Society. Crispin, Janet and Trevor have and continue to make a huge contribution to the conservation and public enjoyment of England’s ecclesiastical heritage, whereas Clare continues to champion heritage within government. Well done all, and congratulations to the many other people across the UK who have received an honour in recognition of their services to heritage!

Call for evidence to English Churches Sustainability Review launched

Architectural Heritage Fund

The panel is seeking views from the public on how to successfully maintain church buildings across the country.

The English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review has launched a call for evidence to hear the public’s views on how church buildings should be looked after and the role can they play in local communities.

The review panel, chaired by Bernard Taylor, aims to find innovative and practical ways to maintain church and cathedral buildings at the heart of their communities for generations to come.

The public, those caring for local church buildings or involved with their local church, and those who simply have an interest in preserving our heritage, are encouraged to contribute their views to the call for evidence, which will close on 31 January 2017.

The responses will help to inform the Review Panel’s recommendations due to be published in Spring 2017.

Find out more and submit evidence here

Annual Report Celebrates Successful Year

Harriet Roberts

Successful historic building restoration projects across the UK are celebrated in the AHF’s annual report which is published today (1 December) coinciding with The Heritage Alliance’s annual Heritage Day.  

The report comes as heritage organisations gather in London’s spectacular Grade II listed Freemasons Hall to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

As well as showcasing award winning buildings and completed regeneration projects, the AHF’s first impact measurement survey reveals the indirect outcomes for local communities and highlights a number of issues relating to the health of the sector. 

Click here to view the report

New Data Uncovers Surge in Heritage Interest in England

Harriet Roberts

New Data Uncovers Surge in Heritage Interest in England

  • Participation in heritage is rising fastest among adults from lower socio-economic groups and Black and Minority Ethnic groups

  • Dramatic decrease in the participation gap between least and most deprived communities

  • Historic sites are attracting more visitors and membership of heritage organisations is increasing

  • Three quarters of the adult population participated in heritage activity last year

  • Heritage is being used to help shape both national and local identity in “place branding” which helps maximise the value of a place for residents and visitors

  • “Our heritage is a key national asset, underpinning Britain’s image and brand throughout the world. As we move towards leaving the EU, its economic dynamism will only become more important.”

  • Images and infographics here:


Visits to historic sites are growing, membership of heritage organisations is increasing and participation in heritage is becoming more inclusive, according to this year’s Heritage Counts reports. The reports have been published today (1 December) by Historic England on behalf of England’s leading heritage organisations which make up the Historic Environment Forum.

Heritage for everyone

New evidence has shown that participation in heritage(1) is becoming more inclusive and appealing to people from all walks of life. In the last 10 years heritage participation has grown fastest among adults from Black and Minority Ethnic groups and lower socio-economic groups (C2DE). The gap in heritage participation between people living in the most deprived areas and those in the least deprived areas decreased dramatically in the past six years - from a gap of 44 per cent in 2009/10 to 24 per cent in 2015/16.

More visits and increasing membership

The report, published today (1 December) at Heritage Day, an annual event run by the Heritage Alliance- England’s biggest coalition of heritage interests’, has also shown that nearly three quarters of the adult population, or 40 million people, participated in heritage during the past year. There has been a growth in membership of heritage organisations in the last year, with English Heritage, the National Trust and the Historic Houses Association all reporting an increase in membership: 10%, 8% and 11% respectively.

These results suggest that heritage is strongly valued by the public. Historic England believes our shared heritage and history are a source of identity and stability in an uncertain world.

Heritage shapes identity

One of the Heritage Counts reports demonstrates that the nation is using its historic environment to project or communicate both national and local identities. The research shows that historic buildings and places are increasingly being used in “place branding”- a concept that identifies the perception and reputation of a place. The UK’s national branding campaign, the GREAT campaign, has identified heritage as one of the UK’s 12 unique selling points.

Trends toward devolution and localism mean that local place-making is increasingly important for local economies and communities. Currently local organisations, such as Business Improvement Districts, are shaping the image and identity of their local communities and using heritage to do this. The research shows that heritage is being used to enhance local pride, provide places with a unique selling point and to attract visitors but also strengthen the quality of life for residents and businesses.

As part of the Heritage Counts research, a survey of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) was carried out. 89% of surveyed BIDs felt that heritage played an important role in the image and identity of the BID.  Half of BIDs (51%) rated heritage as being important to achieving their objectives.


The Newcastle NE1 Business Improvement District Company said: “Today’s consumer is very market savvy and if a brand is constructed from scratch they are suspicious; using heritage brings credibility and authenticity to the offer.”


Sir Laurie Magnus, Chairman of Historic England said: “This new research clearly shows that more and more people, from a variety of socio-economic and ethnic groups, appreciate England’s historic sites. It is excellent news. Our historic environment plays a crucial role in shaping the places where we live, work and visit. It provides people with a physical link to the past, permanence, stability and a sense of belonging. Places with strong, distinctive identities are more likely to prosper than those without them. Our heritage is a key national asset, underpinning Britain’s image and brand throughout the world. As we move towards leaving the EU, its economic dynamism will only become more important.”


John Sell, Chair of the Historic Environment Forum, said: "It is wonderful that more and more people from a variety of backgrounds are enjoying and caring for heritage and that more places are recognising the value of heritage as part of what makes them unique. However there is still work to do so that, in encouraging growth and managing change, we do not lose sight of what makes places special. Local council and BID leaders now need to work together to make sure that heritage is at the heart of the vision for their towns, cities and neighbourhoods.”



  1. Participating in heritage includes visiting a city or town with historic character; a historic building open to the public (non-religious); a historic park or garden open to the public; a place connected with industrial history (e.g. an old factory, dockyard or mine) or historic transport system (e.g. an old ship or railway); a historic place of worship attended as a visitor (not to worship); a monument such as a castle, fort or ruin; a site of archaeological interest (i.e. Roman villa, ancient burial site); a site connected with sports heritage (e.g. Wimbledon) (not visited for the purposes of watching sport)

Read more about Heritage Counts here

For further press information contact Rosie Ryder,, 02079733388 or Joe O’Donnell,, 0207 2330 500

For images and infographics click here:

Other useful publications recently released:

Heritage Index-

The Impact of Heritage Tourism for the UK Economy 2016-

Notes to Editors

Heritage Counts is an annual survey of the state of England's historic environment produced by Historic England (previously known as English Heritage) on behalf of the Historic Environment Forum, which represents the major heritage organisations in England. The reports summarise policy changes from the year and reports on a wide range of information and data that helps the sector make decisions and influence policy.

The Historic Environment Forum members are:


Architectural Heritage Fund

British Property Federation

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

Church of England Cathedrals & Church Buildings Division

Council for British Archaeology

Country Land and Business Association

Heritage Lottery Fund

Historic England

Historic Houses Association

Historic Religious Buildings Alliance

Institute of Historic Building Conservation

Joint Committee of the National Amenities Societies

National Trust

Natural England

Royal Institute of British Architects

Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Royal Town Planning Institute

The Churches Conservation Trust

The Heritage Alliance

Historic Environment Scotland Asks - What’s Your Heritage?

Harriet Roberts

Historic Environment Scotland Asks - What’s Your Heritage?

People across Scotland invited to help change the course of heritage

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced an ambitious national campaign to find out what heritage really means to the people of Scotland as part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

‘What’s Your Heritage?’ is a multi-channel project that asks members of the public to reveal which of Scotland’s places, buildings and monuments they want to see recognised and celebrated.

HES hopes to uncover some hidden gems and, perhaps, some unusual examples of heritage for future generations to enjoy. From theatres to pubs, and castles to schools, what are the buildings that have made us who we are?

The organisation is calling on everyone in Scotland to get involved with the conversation. An online survey will run for the duration of the campaign, meaning people can contribute at a time and place that suits them. HES will also run a series of informal workshops across the country to give people a chance to participate in conversations in their area. HES has also created a digital toolkit which is available to organisations or groups that would like to run their own workshop. A social media campaign #MyHeritageIs adds another digital dimension to the project, inviting people to share their pictures and thoughts.

The feedback captured in the project will be used to help shape new policies that will assist the organisation in protecting and celebrating historic sites now and in the future. 

Elizabeth McCrone, Historic Environment Scotland’s Head of Designations, visited Glasgow to launch the campaign, and to meet local members of the community in the Gorbals to find out their answers to the question ‘What’s Your Heritage?’

She explained, “This is the first time that we have undertaken such a comprehensive review with the public about the criteria we use to decide whether to designate sites and structures. We receive hundreds of requests every year to assess buildings and sites for listing or one of the other designations and we really want to know what the people of Scotland think should be recognised and protected.

“We know that people are increasingly interested in different aspects of our history that designation hasn’t traditionally focussed on, such as the stories and experiences associated with different places. Through the ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ campaign, we’re hoping to reach out to people across the country to find out whether we’re right about that and, if so, how we can take a fresh look at our work.”

Scotland is a land rich with stories and history. Some aspects are already well-known, for instance the B-listed Citizens Theatre contains an important early auditorium of 1878 as well as rare machinery which survives under the stage. ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ will delve into the stories of such buildings to ensure that what HES is recording, celebrating and protecting for the benefit of current and future generations has Scotland’s support.

Stephen Smart is a member of the Citizens Community Collective, a group made up of around thirty members aged from 22 to 80, from all walks of life. He recently appeared on stage at the Citz in The Gorbals Vampire, the culmination of a 10-month project run by the theatre involving local people, school children and the general public in workshops, exhibitions and creative writing competitions inspired by true events which took place in the Southern Necropolis in 1954. When asked what heritage means to him, Stephen said: “Heritage can mean your roots. Anytime I think of heritage I think of the past – it's not usually something you think of today. It’s very important culturally and positions you in the world – it’s your personality. Heritage is a cultural thing and your culture defines you.”

Nearby pub, The Laurieston is a category C-listed building. Stepping through the door, visitors are taken back in time to the 1960s where the original decorative scheme is still intact.

John Clancy, proprietor, said: “There’s not many people that own their own pubs anymore, most people lease – but we own this, and we like to keep it the same as it’s always been. Our family has always been in the pub trade and it has changed a lot over the years. You'll go into places now and they'll have lots of tellies, music blasting, and huge menus. In here you’ll get conversation, and a pie and peas from the same pie warmer we had at our old premises in Maryhill forty years ago. We’ve got regulars who followed us from there, young lads whose fathers used to come in to see us, and on the walls you'll see photos and newspaper clippings we've collected over the years that we know will be interesting to our regulars. It's like a big extended family, where everyone is welcome.”

HES is also seeking opportunities to collaborate with and empower others to have the conversation. They are not just asking about things that are already deemed ‘historic’, but things people will look back on as shaping the history of Scotland’s communities. Records of places that seem part of everyday life in 2016 could offer a real sense of place and cultural identity for future generations. 

In addition, the organisation is encouraging people to consider how change to designated sites and places should be managed, since the historic environment can and should form the focus for regeneration and business development. By having these conversations, HES will be able to enhance its protection and regulation of the historic environment, and to increase knowledge and understanding of what matters most to the people of Scotland.

What’s Your Heritage?  How to get involved:

·         Share your ideas and thoughts through this quick survey:  

·         Join the conversation at one of our ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ workshops or on Twitter with #MyHeritageIs

·         Organise a workshop in your area– request a toolkit by emailing


Twitter: @HistEnvScot

Facebook: HistoricEnvScotland




Free to use supporting images are available from

Notes for editors:

About The Citizens Theatre

The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. It has been one of Scotland’s flagship producing theatres since 1945. Fondly known as the Citz, it is led by Artistic Director, Dominic Hill, and Executive Director, Judith Kilvington. For the fastest information on all Citizens Theatre shows, learning and participation activity, and the forthcoming £20.8 million building redevelopment project, visit

About Historic Environment Scotland

1.      As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.

·         Historic Scotland is a sub brand of Scotland’s new public heritage body, Historic Environment Scotland


2.    Historic Environment Scotland is a registered Scottish Charity. Scottish Charity No. SC045925

3.    You can keep up to date with news from Historic Environment Scotland and register for media release email alerts here. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.


4.    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Running from 1 January to 31 December, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a celebration of Scotland’s people, our distinct culture and traditions, our historic landscapes, attractions, icons, as well as our hidden gems and amazing stories.


From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, 2017 is the year to explore Scotland's fascinating past. Discover how this past has shaped the thriving Scotland we know today and its future, with its proud and welcoming spirit.

Enjoy the splendour of some of Scotland’s most famous and dramatic castles, visit your clan’s homeland, experience the breathtaking sounds of a hundred pipers skirling or stare in wonder at the ever-changing natural landscapes that have played a key part in Scotland’s history. 


Discover tales of legendary kings and queens, Jacobite battles, stories handed down from one generation to the next, all set against Scotland’s unique panoramic landscapes and enriching culture.


From the Scottish Borders to Orkney, and from Fife to the Isle of Skye - every area of Scotland has its own story to share. Relive Scotland’s past to the present day through a range of exciting events, attractions and activities during 2017 and come make history with us! 



Conference: Heritage for the Next Generation - who pays? 9 Nov 2016

Harriet Roberts

Leading local and national heritage sector organisations are coming together at the historic Larchfield Estate, Lisburn to talk about securing the future of the sector in a fast moving world.

The heritage sector in Northern Ireland is a potential powerhouse for the local economy, but is underperforming compared to other parts of the UK. Our question is: ‘How do we create a more sustainable future for the heritage sector in Northern Ireland, and find the money to pay for it?' 

The conference which takes place on Wednesday 9 November, gathers together three key heritage organisations in Northern Ireland and the UK - The Lagan Navigation Trust, the Heritage Trust Network and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. Together they work to make our heritage more vibrant and accessible for as many people as possible, both visitors and local communities.  

In a very varied programme delegates will hear from, amongst others: Paul Givan, MLA, Minister for Communities on the social & economic value of heritage, keynote speaker, John Sergeant, Joe Mahon, and The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Brian Bloomfield MBE.

The event is sponsored by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Belfast City Council, Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Kriterion Architects, Blue Horizon, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, Lagan Navigation Trust, the Heritage Trust Network, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.


Lagan Navigation Trust, Chief Officer Brenda Turnbull –

Heritage Trust Network UK Chair, Sarah Mcleaod -

IHBC NI Chairman, Andrew McClelland -



John Sergeant

John Sergeant

Romsey Restoration Completed

Harriet Roberts

We're delighted to announce the completion of another successfully completed building restoration project funded solely by AHF loan finance.

The Romsey and District BPT has completed the restoration of a shop unit and two-bedroom flat above, whilst creating a new dwelling behind on what was previously a storage area.

5 Latimer Street was built in the mid-18th century and had lain empty when the Trust acquired it. It has undertaken a number of schemes since its formation in the 1970s to provide accommodation within the town, recycling any surplus funds into new restoration projects. This has improved the streetscape by the installation of a more sympathetic shop front, provided much-needed accommodation, and encouraged other neighbouring property owners to explore the re-use of other unused over-the-shop dwelling space. The AHF provided a loan of £325,000, which has been repaid in full and within term. 

View the property on You Tube:

HLF splashes out £5 million for Templemore Baths, Belfast

Harriet Roberts

The Architectural Heritage Fund is delighted to receive news that Belfast City Council has been granted £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is one step closer to revitalising the last surviving Victorian public baths in Ireland.

This latest funding allows Belfast City Council to fully develop its ambitious plans to restore, extend and fully reopen Templemore Baths in east Belfast for use as a leisure and fitness facility as part of a £105 million regeneration vision linked to the Leisure Transformation programme. This seeks to improve the health and well-being of the community by creating welcoming, quality facilities across the city.

Templemore Baths was the last in a series of public baths opened throughout Belfast in the late 19th century.  It provided washing and sanitary facilities for the families who came to live in the area, attracted by the development of Harland and Wolff shipyard and other engineering enterprises in the east of the city.

The Architectural Heritage Fund supported the early stage of the project with an Options Appraisal Grant of £7500 in 2012.

SPAB Scholarships & Fellowships

Harriet Roberts

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is searching for SPAB Scholars and Fellows for 2017. Apply for the Scholarship programme and the Fellowship programme by 1 December.

Fellowship applications are welcomed from craftspeople employed in the repair of historic buildings on site or in workshops and studios. Candidates must have completed their apprenticeship and demonstrate a high degree of competence, as well as an enthusiasm to engage with other trades and disciplines. Past Fellows have been stonemasons, stained glass conservators, blacksmiths, carpenters/joiners, bricklayers, leadworker and plasterers.

SPAB scholars are architects, surveyors and engineers who have completed their college-based training (e.g. RIBA Parts I & II for architects), ideally with a few years experience in their field. Applicants must be enthusiastic about old buildings and willing to travel the country for this nine-month countrywide conservation tour.

More details: