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Culture Recovery Grants will support new business plans for heritage sites impacted by COVID-19

19 February 2021

Funding will support fresh thinking and development of sustainability strategies at 44 historic sites across England

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) today announces grant awards designed to support the heritage sector to adapt and thrive during and after the pandemic. Projects supported through the scheme include community-run Roman forts and historic houses, industrial pavilions and pleasure piers, former libraries, school houses and local museums.

The funding package is part of the wider Culture Recovery efforts funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and administered by Historic England, and aims to mitigate the significant challenges that COVID-19 has brought to England’s heritage sector. Awards of up to £50,000 each will enable the funded organisations to redevelop paths to financial sustainability through diversified income models, new community consultation strategies and through the engagement of specialist advice and services.

Forty-four organisations have received a grant, including:

·        Clevedon Pier, Somerset (Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust Ltd)

The iconic Grade I-listed Victorian pier at Clevedon was described by Sir John Betjeman as ‘the most beautiful pier in England’. In most years, the pier welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually to learn about local history, to stroll its elegant deck and to even to fish. The Pier has been awarded a Culture Recovery Grant to support new catering provision to bolster its core income as well as research and engagement on local geology and wildlife. 

·        Chiswick House and Gardens, London (Chiswick House and Gardens Trust)

The site at Chiswick is home not only to one of the most significant examples of 18th-century architecture in Britain – Lord Burlington’s sublime Palladian pavilion – but is also the birthplace of the English Landscape Garden, which would become a defining element of English country house parks. The Grade I-listed site normally welcomes more than one million visitors each year to the House and established garden rooms, such as the Conservatory. With its Culture Recovery Grant award, the Trust aims to explore new uses for other buildings on the site, including cricket pavilions, stables and walled gardens, which could support new opportunities for engaging the local community.

·        Middleport Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire (Re-Form Heritage)

Designed to improve production processes and worker conditions, Middleport Pottery was considered a ‘model pottery’ on its completion in 1889. Familiar to many from its use as filming location for The Great Pottery Throw Down, the Grade II*-listed complex remains a working pottery, where the production of traditional wares continues alongside a variety of educational and training workshops, enterprises spaces and community uses. The Pottery has been awarded a Culture Recovery Grant to modernise their visitor engagement strategy and reach new audiences with their story of heritage skills alive in the twenty-first century.

·        Dunston Staiths, Gateshead (Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust)

At their peak usage in the 1920s, more than 140,000 tons of coal was loaded each week onto ships docked alongside the late 19th-century staiths at Dunston. Among the largest wooden structures in Europe, the Grade II-listed Staiths are recognised as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust, one of the AHF’s flagship Heritage Development Trust organisations which work to regenerate communities through the conservation and adapted use of historic buildings, plans to use their Culture Recovery Grant to develop plans for income-generation and community engagement that will secure the future of the Staiths at the heart of its neighbourhood.

Heritage Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said:

"This support from the Culture Recovery Fund is helping popular and important heritage sites build back better with new business plans and projects for the future. We're investing in places that people can't wait to get back to and preserving local heritage for future generations."

Matthew Mckeague, CEO, Architectural Heritage Fund, said:

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought unparalleled uncertainty to the heritage sector, with organisations that rely on visitor income or community group usage shuttered for most of the past year. However, these grants will support organisations in becoming more resilient as they emerge from the crisis.

“For forty-five years, the Architectural Heritage Fund has been committed to supporting communities to develop sustainable new uses for their much-loved historic buildings. We are pleased to have been able to offer this additional support at a time of extraordinary need and are very grateful to DCMS for funding these vital grants.”

The full list of projects awards have been made to are:

Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust Ltd - Clevedon Pier, Clevedon; Waterloo House, Clevedon

Slough Fort Preservation Trust - Slough Fort, Rochester

Ivy House Community Pub Ltd - The Ivy House, London

Benington Community Heritage Trust - St Beona's Church, Benington

Future Wolverton Limited - The Old School, Old Wolverton

Fort Amherst Heritage Trust - Fort Amherst, Chatham

Saltdean Lido CIC - Saltdean Lido, Brighton

Trinity Community Arts Ltd - Trinity Centre, Bristol

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust - 160 King Street, Great Yarmouth

The Manchester Victoria Baths Trust - Victoria Baths, Manchester

Clophill Heritage Trust - The Eco Lodges and St Mary's Old Church

CADS South Yorkshire - The Abbeydale Picture House, Nether Edge

Weardale Museum - High House Chapel & Manse, Weardale

Dunkeswell Abbey Church Trust - Holy Trinity (former church), Honiton

Exeter Cathedral - Church House / Serge Market Building, Exeter

Nottingham Studios - Primary, 33 Seely Road, Nottingham

Fulham Palace Trust - Fulham Palace, London

Cambridge Museum of Technology - The Old Pumping Station, Cambridge

The Charleston Trust - Charleston, Firle

Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust Ltd - Old Duchy Palace, Lostwithiel

Middleton Hall Trust - Middleton Hall & Gardens, Tamworth

Carnegie Theatre Trust (Workington) - Carnegie Theatre & Arts Centre. Workington

Peter Ashley Activity Centres Trust - Fort Widley, Portsmouth

Letton Hall Trust - Letton Hall, Norfolk

Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust - Dunston Staiths, Dunston

The Bulldog Trust (t/a Two Temple Place) - Two Temple Place, London

SLT Building Preservation Trust Ltd - The South London Theatre Centre, The Old Fire Station, London

Cultura Trust - Warwick Bridge Corn Mill, Cumbria

Aspire Ryde - Trinity Buildings, Ryde

Friends of Ingestre Orangery - Ingestre Orangery, Stafford

Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust - Delapre Abbey, Northampton

Kingshill House Limited - Kingshill House, Dursley

The Cornwall Heritage Trust Ltd - Five sites

Acumen Community Buildings Ltd - The Old Rectory, Houghton-le-Spring

Re:Source Blackburn - The Exchange, Blackburn

Chiswick House and Garden Trust - Conservatory Building, Chiswick House, London

Levenshulme Old Library CIO - The Old Library, Levenshulme

Re-Form Heritage - Middleport Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent

Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust - Hoghton Tower, Hoghton

The Portico Library and Newsroom - The Portico Library and Newsroom, Manchester

The Churches Conservation Trust - St Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn (and others)

The Friends of Abingdon Abbey Buildings Trust - Abingdon Abbey Buildings, Abingdon

Jubilee Pool Penzance Limited - Jubilee Pool, Penzance

National Emergency Services Museum (NESM) - The Old Police / Fire Station, Sheffield



Photo Credits

Clevedon Pier (credit: Clevedon Pier Heritage Trust)


For further information please contact: / 020 7925 0199

For media enquiries contact: / 020 7925 0199

Notes to Editors:

Information on DCMS’s Culture Recovery Fund is here

Culture Recovery Fund - GOV.UK (

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