HERITAGE AT RISK
Currently, there are over one thousand buildings on the Historic England’s at risk register and these only include grade I and II* buildings nationally and grade II listed buildings within London.
Several schemes are currently being developed or undertaken, that will attempt to record grade II buildings which are at risk and are located outside of London. Other buildings which are considered to be of historical importance and not statutory listed, though perhaps on Local Authority lists are also being ignored and the true number of buildings at risk in England will number in the thousands.
Organisations like Historic England, The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Architectural Heritage Fund and others recognise the importance of the need to save these buildings from being lost forever and prioritise them in their grant schemes. National groups who specialise in periods of our building history or in a certain building type help in the fight against the loss of these heritage assets and also advise on planning applications. Within the UK many of these have been established for many years and do excellent work towards saving our buildings at risk.
Much of the work we will undertake involves the rescue of buildings at risk and will often be the reason why Building Preservation Trust and Friends Groups are formed. Being at risk will often make the building a more attractive proposition for grant providers with grant allocations for these types of buildings being given priority. Those who are wishing to save a building in their area will often contact us for advice and assistance in setting up a group to raise public awareness of the plight of a building in their area and ultimately to take steps to instigate its rescue. Grants are available from varying sources to help in the acquisition and investigations into bringing these buildings back into use with the Architectural Heritage Fund and The Heritage Lottery often funding viability studies in the early stages.
Many groups also exist which specialise in certain types of buildings or eras in our history and these can often be a great source for information, advice and in some cases for funding. Membership of these organisations provides various opportunities for events and publications with the donations helping towards the organisations cause.
The Heritage Lottery Fund; is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK and operates many types of grants which give funding to a large variety of projects. The grant programmes that are on offer cover not only buildings, but also museums, parks, historic places, archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions with amounts being available that start at £3,000 and go up to 5 million.
The Architectural Heritage Fund; was founded in 1976 to promote the re-use and conservation of historic buildings within the UK for the benefit of the community. They do this by providing advice, loans and grants to charities and not-for-profit organisations. Their regional representatives will assist these groups from the early stage of a project until completion.
The Victorian Society; is a charity which fights for the survival of Victorian and Edwardian buildings built between 1837 and 1914 in England and Wales. Conservation advisers within the organisation help local planning authorities to make informed decisions on works to Victorian and Edwardian buildings and churches. The organisation has published several books and retains a large archive of casework which dates from 1958. Membership is available and there are several regional groups with members receiving magazines, newsletters and priority bookings at numerous lectures and events.
The Vernacular Architecture Group; was formed in 1953 to further the study of traditional buildings originally located in the British Isles, but recently this has extended to buildings in other parts of the world. The group encourages authors and offers grants for research and a prize for essays. Members receive a newsletter and access to publications, conferences and a weekend school.
The Theatres Trust; was established in 1976 in England through The Theatres Trust Act and in 1978 in Scotland. Working as an advisory body for theatres they protect theatre buildings and what goes inside. They should be consulted by Local Authorities when a development affects any land upon which there is a theatre. Becoming a friend of the trust or a corporate supporter will enable you to receive the Trust's magazine, special offers and access to further information. Money which is donated to the cause is used to help to protect theatres at risk and grants are available for improvements and repairs.
National Churches Trust; are an independent national charity which is dedicated to promoting and supporting church buildings that offer community, historic and architectural value within the UK. Previously known as the Historic Churches Preservation Trust when it was created in 1953 the organisation provides grants, information and advice to help maintain churches in the community. Friends of the trust receive a bi-annual newsletter, access to events and special offers.
S.P.A.B: (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings); was founded by William Morris in 1877 to counteract the highly destructive methods of restoration that the Victorian Architects were using to restore medieval buildings. The organisation continues to protect our historic buildings and advises, educates and campaigns for their protection. Members receive a quarterly magazine and details of regional courses and events.
The Princes Regeneration Trust; rescue buildings at risk and regenerate them for the benefit of the community by providing advice and support. Regular events are organised to help with the support of projects and several publications provide advice on the running of heritage projects. Resources also include an education programme which is designed to build skills, knowledge and connections in the historic environment which is known as BRICK.
The Association for Industrial Archaeology; promote the study, preservation and presentation of Britain’s industrial heritage. The organisation gives awards to various categories including conservation, archaeology and restoration with a student bursary also being available. Grants of up to £20k are available for restoration and events/conferences are held. Members receive a bi-annual journal and are given access to all of the events along with practical workshops.
The Twentieth Century Society; was originally founded as the Thirties Society in 1979 to safeguard the heritage and architecture from 1914 onwards. The organisation holds regular events which include those given by regional groups. Specific campaigns are run for varying types of 20th-century heritage often with the aim of raising awareness and protection. Members have access to tours, walks and study visits and receive a magazine 3 times a year.
IHBC: (The Institute of Historic Building Conservation); is the principle organisation for conservation professionals and historic environment specialist who work in the UK. The organisation is a registered charity that promotes the understanding and care of historic places, including its benefits by giving support and advice. The organisation has three categories of membership, affiliate, associate and full with members receiving a magazine 5 times a year and access to events.
SAVE Britain’s Heritage; has been campaigning for historic buildings since being formed in 1975 and are a strong independent voice for conservation. The organisation has many publications available including their own list of buildings at risk which are available to friends of SAVE for a discounted price. Friends also receive a free publication on joining, discounts on events and a bi-annual newsletter.
The Georgian Group; was founded in 1937 and since 1971 they have been a national amenity society which consults on planning applications in England and Wales and generally concentrates on the period from 1700 until 1840. Specialist regional case workers are employed by the organisation that cover areas of England and Wales with the aim of preventing the destruction of Georgian Buildings. Several publications are available offering guidance on the care and restoration of these buildings and their interiors. Small grants are available for repairs and members.
Railway Heritage Trust; commenced operations in 1985 with its objectives being to assist operational railway companies in the upkeep of their listed buildings and structures. Along with this the organisation also offers help with the transfer of non-operating structures and premises to those who which to continue to preserve them. The trust gives out both advice and grants to train operating companies, tenants of railway owned premises, Network Rail and the Highways Historical Railways Estate.
National Piers Society; was founded in 1979 at a time when many of the UK finest piers were being threatened with demolition. The society has now been instrumental in saving many of our important piers and they now continue to be enjoyed by many. Throughout the year the organisation organises talks and events. Members receive a quarterly magazine and get to participate in local pier events.
Association of Building Preservation Trusts; is the organisation which offers support and advice to building preservation trusts throughout the UK. Resources include guidance notes and several events are held annually. Membership is currently only open to registered charities who are undertaking rescue and restoration of historic buildings, but a new associate category is soon to be introduced.
The Churches Conservation Trust; established in 1969 by Parliament and the Church of England have to date helped to save over 345 buildings that now attract over 2 million visitors a year. Every year the trust undertakes over 50 specialist conservation projects along with minor repairs and offers the chance for volunteers to get involved and learn about heritage. Members of the trust receive newsletters, free entry to some sites, priority bookings and discounted tours.
Many local organisations also contribute in the fight against the loss of built heritage and will often be able to provide advice and information. Within the Midlands, there are several building preservation trusts (BPT’s) with some of these being a single project trust and others which undertaken multiple projects. The Association of Building Preservation Trusts site includes a database of the trusts who are members of their organisation, though other BPT’s exist who are no members.
Within Derbyshire there are several BPT’s and those which take on more than one project include amongst others:
The Heritage Trust; is fairly new trust having been formed in 2013 for the purpose of rescuing buildings at risk within the Midlands. Having recently purchased a building in South Derbyshire they are looking for funding and donations for the restoration work and would welcome any assistance that you are able to provide. More information is available about this project and the services they provide via their website at
The Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust; a long-standing trust within the area having been formed in 1974 and undertook a number of projects until the late 1990s. Since this time the trust has remained active though not actually taking on any building projects. They are currently in the process of rejuvenation and have secured an HLF grant to look at several case studies in Derbyshire that should enable them to be in a position to rescue another building in the near future. Further details of the organisation are available at
Other trusts and groups in the area are concentrating their efforts on one specific building or group of buildings and these include:
Belper North Mill Trust; was formed to enhance the public’s understanding of the industrial heritage of the Derwent Valley and in particular the importance of the North Mill in Belper. They now operate the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre, Tourist Information Point and the museum in the North Mill. Further details of how to visit the museum and events are available at
The Arkwright Society; is the organisation which promotes and conserves the industrial heritage of the Cromford Mill site which is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. After being formed in 1972 the organisation has slowly and progressively been renovating the entire Cromford Mills site. Now in its 44th year and with much of the site complete they offer a tourist destination along with facilities for businesses. To find out more about the Arkwright Society and the mills visit their site at
If you aware of a building at risk within your area and need help or advice to prevent its further decay or demolition then please contact us