Cornish Mining World Heritage Site gets £1m for Wheal Busy conservation

Cornish Mining Landscape, News, Uncategorized
Wheal Busy Smithy Funding 1

One of the two impressive cast iron lintels of the Smithy, which give an indication of the proud 
spirit the mine company wished to convey through its reworking of Wheal Busy in the 1870s.
(Image: Ainsley Cocks)

Since 2014 the World Heritage site has prioritised Wheal Busy Smithy as a conservation project and for many years before this members of the team, the local community and Cornwall Council have searched for a solution to preserve this fantastic piece of history, which is a noted feature of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ within the World Heritage Site.

Whilst being a well-known feature in the Chacewater area, the building has unfortunately been underutilised for some time which has led to deterioration of the scantle-slate roofing. The winter storms of 2014 also caused the partial collapse of the building’s south eastern corner, increasing concerns about its continued stability.

In 2018 the World Heritage Office approached Highways England with the aim of getting the Smithy included as one of the projects to be funded by the Highways England A30 Environmental Designated Funds. Since then the World Heritage Team has worked with Highways England, Arup contractors, Members of the Chasewater Parish Council and Tregothnan Estate to get the project approved for funding. We are delighted to announce that this project has now been approved for £1 million in funding. The Smithy is likely to be developed for community usage.

The Smithy workshop at Wheal Busy near the former mining village of Chacewater is unique within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site and is thought to be the largest historic blacksmiths on a metalliferous mine in Britain.

Wheal Busy is a very important name in the annals of Cornish mining. The production of copper and tin in the area around Chacewater dates from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries, with the mine first being mentioned in 1666. Wheal Busy also saw the successive installation of early innovations in steam technology; a Newcomen atmospheric engine was at work dewatering the mine by around 1726, with this role assumed by a Smeaton improved atmospheric engine by 1775-1776. Eventually a Boulton & Watt separate condenser engine was installed, this being the first of its type to operate in Cornwall when it was put to work by its designer James Watt in 1777.

As an acknowledged feature of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’, or international significance, within the World Heritage Site, the preservation of the Smithy is of the highest priority to the World Heritage Site team. Designated a Grade II Listed building, the Smithy has an extensive scantle-slate roof and impressive cast iron lintels over its two main entrances. The building owes much of its grand form to a major reworking of the mine in the 1870s and the lintels boldly proclaim the title: ‘Great Wheal Busy Mines 1872’.

Julian German, Chair of the World Heritage Site Partnership, commented that “the Partnership very much welcome the support that Highways England have pledged through the A30 Environmental Designated Funds scheme. The Wheal Busy Smithy poses a significant conservation challenge but this announcement will enable the emergency stabilisation of the building, which is a well-known and highly regarded feature of international importance within the World Heritage Site.”

The World Heritage Site team are delighted that funding has been approved for the Smithy and look forward to working closely with Highways England, the Tregothnan Estate and the community of Chacewater to deliver the much-needed conservation of this unique aspect of Cornwall’s mining heritage.

In memory of Mark Suggitt

News, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage UK

Mark Suggett

The Board of Trustees of World Heritage UK were shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely death of Mark Suggitt, at the age of 62.  

Mark was an active and enthusiastic advocate for World Heritage. He took up the role of Director at Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site at around the time that the former Local Authority World Heritage Forum was beginning a programme to re-focus and re-structure.  Mark brought a new perspective from his work in the Museums service. With his managerial experience and positive attitude, coupled with a clear understanding of heritage matters, he was able to help in directing the newly formed World Heritage UK into an efficient, thriving and forceful organisation. He had a natural ability to draw people together. He represented World Heritage UK at the European Association of WHS Conference in 2015

Although he had retired from his post at Derwent Valley Mills he is sadly missed by many of his former colleagues in the sphere of World Heritage. His unassuming friendliness with everyone and his willingness to share his expertise was greatly valued by other Site managers and Board members and he will be remembered with affection. Our thoughts and prayers are with his two sons and wider family.

In memory of Mark Suggitt

Happy New Year from World Heritage UK! – why not start it with Learning and Engagement at Big Pit, Blaenavon UNESCO World Heritage Site?

Blaenavon, Education, News, Technical Workshop, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Big Pit 2 19 Aug 03_002

Why not start your 2019 off with something to look forward to? Book now for World Heritage UK’s ‘World Heritage Site Learning and Engagement – from cradle to grave’ Technical Workshop on the 19th and 20th February, to be held at Big Pit, Blaenavon. Tickets are available at  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/world-heritage-site-learning-and-engagement-from-cradle-to-grave-tickets-53536344648 where you will also find links to the full event programme.

PLUS! – On the morning of the 19th January (10am – 12pm) at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre there will be the first World Heritage Learning and Engagement Network meeting. This is free and open to all colleagues, staff and volunteers who are involved with learning and engagement in World Heritage Sites. It will be an opportunity to share best practice, share ideas, develop new ideas and create cross-site opportunities for World Heritage. Contact ashleigh.taylor@torfaen.gov.uk for more information on this.

Also watch this space for details of the summer networking meeting and the Autumn annual conference, this year to be held near the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site at Llangollen, in North Wales.

We hope to see you at some of our events – have a great year!

chris.mahon@worldheritageuk.org

 

‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’ conference review

Conference, Conference Tower of London, DCMS Minister, Events, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

WHUK 2018 lowres-6656

The World Heritage UK annual conference for 2018 is now a happy memory with much learned, experiences and knowledge shared, networks renewed and new friendships forged over two days in October. The historic Tower of London, in the shadows of its neighbouring 21st century high rise glass skyscrapers, was the perfect place to discuss the ‘setting’ of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and our thanks go to Historic Royal Palaces for hosting the event and providing some memorable behind-the-scenes tours.

The conference attracted over a hundred participants, including Michael Ellis, the Under Secretary of State and his team from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), colleagues from Historic England and the heritage agencies of the devolved nations (who also provided country overview presentations), university academics, heritage consultancy professionals, representatives of most of the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites, delegates from Bermuda, Germany, Malta and a delegation from the China Academy of Urban Planning Design.

The Minister’s words were very supportive of the work of World Heritage UK and he re-stated the Government’s commitment to heritage protection. This backing will be important when the UK World Heritage Site Review, being carried out by World Heritage UK President, Chris Blandford, is published in 2019, and a summary of progress on this review work formed part of the busy conference programme.

Delegates also heard fascinating insights into case studies where the settings of World Heritage Sites were being challenged, in particular by tall buildings at the Tower of London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and in Liverpool, by road development at Stonehenge, nationally significant infrastructure projects and changes in agricultural policy in the English Lake District and a variety of issues in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, including wind turbines, industrial and housing developments.

There were interactive sessions too, with a Question Time style panel and the popular 5- minute ‘elevator pitches’ which provided short but insightful contributions that were received well by an enthused audience.

As usual the conference’s additional activities were epic, including a wide range of short behind-the-scenes tours both at the Tower of London and at the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Sites, a speedy clipper trip on the River Thames and a jolly conference dinner at the Old Brewery in Greenwich.

Feedback from delegates has been 100% positive on the overall experience of the conference via the 39% of feedback forms received. Speaker’s presentations and other arisings from the event will be uploaded to the World Heritage UK website in due course.

We are already planning and looking forward to next year’s conference which will be hosted in Llangollen by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site in North Wales. In the meantime, the next event will be a technical workshop on ‘Education in World Heritage Sites’ which will take place at Big Pit, Blaenavon on 19th and 20th February 2019

Do sign up to this blog to receive further updates on World Heritage UK activity www.worldheritageuk.org/blog

Photo credits: Sam Rose

UK withdrawal from UNESCO – World Heritage UK press statement

Announcement, News, press release, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Following newspaper reports concerning the UK’s continued membership of UNESCO, World Heritage UK are pleased to note the following reported clarification statement from the Department for International Development: “There has been no change to our funding commitment to Unesco. The UK is working closely with Unesco and other member states to ensure it makes crucial reforms to deliver the best results and value for taxpayers’ money.” (13 November 2018).   World Heritage UK understands that scrutiny of bodies such as UNESCO is a legitimate political duty, but we also have the utmost confidence that the economic, environmental and social benefit delivered by the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites can be proven to withstand any such scrutiny. The UK is a world leader in terms of heritage management and the benefit that we gain from, and contribute to, delivery of the UNESCO Convention is substantial. The whole ethos of the Convention is one of global co-operation which is essential to tackle challenges to our unique cultural and natural heritage. Plastic in our oceans and international tourism pressures are examples of issues that nations cannot practically resolve alone.

DCMS Ministerial announcement on the Welsh Slate Industry today!

Advocacy, Announcement, Culture, DCMS Minister, Heritage, UNESCO, Wales, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

DCMS Heritage Minister Michael Ellis announced today that the Welsh Slate Mining Landscape bid can progress to nomination. Whilst there is still work to do, this is a huge hurdle cleared for the project. Pictured below at the House of Commons announcement are MP Liz Saville Roberts, Lord Dafydd Wigley, Minister Michael Ellis and Cllr Ioan Thomas.

Slate Industry Minister announcement

You can find more information on this UNESCO tentative list site at:   http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5678/

New look for English Lake District supports local business and sustainability

Business, Commercial, communications, Culture, Lake District, Uncategorized, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Local businesses in the English Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site are showing their support for its new global recognition with huge enthusiasm. Today, at the Westmorland County Show, the partners that developed the successful bid for inscription launched their branding for the UK’s most recent World Heritage Site – with great popular appeal. Taking a simple but welcoming approach the brand clearly identifies the place but cleverly encourages its adoption by local people for use in promoting activities, destinations, services and products using the specific font style.

On display at the showground today, ably hosted by team members from the Lake District National Park Authority and the National Trust, were some great examples of how locally produced goods are promoting themselves and the World Heritage Site as a result of this partnership. From local ‘Lovingly made in….’ cosmetics, to Cumbrian beer and coasters, even  a ‘World Heritage relish’ and the Herdwick wool handbags made famous on Kate Humble’s recent BBC programme, ‘Back to the Land’. These will all benefit from their association with the World Heritage Site and vice versa as the site is promoted through these local products.

It’s a win-win plus as sustainability is at the heart of this initiative. Sustainability of the land and its heritage conservation, sustainability of the local economy required to underpin it, and sustainability of the local communities that live and work here. And what a great showcase this will be for the visitors who will come here from across the world as a consequence of the UNESCO network of World Heritage Sites. There was a great sense of pride around this event today, and with good reason. The English Lake District is really making the most of its hard-won world heritage status.

You can meet Alex and Mairi (above) at the World Heritage UK conference at the Tower of London on 15th and 16th October where they will be with other UK World Heritage Site Coordinators. There are still some tickets left and you can register at:   www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/setting-the-scene-for-world-heritage-tickets-46877370477

World Heritage UK conference sponsors support Tower of London event

Conference, Conference Tower of London, Conservation, Culture, Events, London, News, Planning, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Thanks to the generous support of these sponsors, World Heritage UK is able to keep the costs of delegate’s attendance affordable at its latest conference ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, at the Tower of London, 15th and 16th October 2018. This is the 4th annual conference of the charity organisation and it promises to be the most compelling yet, not just for the prestigious venue in the city of London but also for the controversial nature of its subject matter. Development in and around World Heritage Sites is often in the news and here will be discussed such topical places as Stonehenge and its road issues, plans affecting the sites in Liverpool and London with tall buildings and other factors, plus many more examples from around the UK and its Overseas Territories.  The event is already attracting international interest so best secure your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. You can register for the conference here

New Coordinator at the Flow Country Tentative List World Heritage Site

Announcement, Flow Country, Jobs, Nature, News, scotland, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK

Welcome to World Heritage, Joe Perry! The Peatlands Partnership has just appointed Joe as their World Heritage Site Officer to take forward the idea of The Flow Country in Sutherland and Caithness becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS).

Joe is moving to the Highlands from Glasgow where he been working as a Project Manager for an environmental tour and experiences company that aims to connect young people in Scotland with our natural and cultural heritage.  In addition to an honours degree in history, he has an MSc in Environment, Heritage and Policy.

Joe Perry

New Coordinator Joe Perry 

The Flow Country is an area of deep peat, dotted with bog pools, that blankets much of Caithness and Sutherland. The Flow Country is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe and covers about 200,000 hectares. A recent academic study has described The Flow Country as being “the best peatland of its type in the world”. The idea that the Flow Country could be inscribed as a World Heritage Site has been investigated by The Peatlands Partnership for some time and the area has been on the UK’s Tentative List of WHS since 1999. A World Heritage Site Working Group was set up by the Partnership in 2017 this short-life working group is independently chaired by Mrs Frances Gunn of The Highland 3rd Sector Alliance and will have a fixed purpose to develop and submit a Technical Evaluation to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by the summer of 2019.

A Technical Evaluation is essentially a scaled-down version of a ‘nomination’ (application) to UNESCO and is assessed by an independent panel. Whilst it is the Peatlands Partnership’s aspiration that The Flow Country becomes inscribed as a World Heritage Site, it is DCMS which will decide whether the case is sufficiently robust to nominate the site to UNESCO.

theflowcountry.org.uk

“the best peatland of its type in the world”?

A considerable amount of work is required to complete the process and Joe Perry has been appointed to assist the Working Group in delivering this.

The Working Group has to carry out three main tasks which will take up to 18 months to complete:

  • Develop a boundary for the proposed WHS in consultation with a wide range of community and other interests.
  • Carry out an extensive community consultation covering all aspects of what a WHS could mean to local communities.
  • Complete all the reports and information required to support the Technical Evaluation and submit this to DCMS in the summer of 2019.

Chair of the Working Group, Frances Gunn, said “In the past we have relied solely on a number of partners fitting this work in alongside all their other duties and so it’s a great step forward to have a Project Officer in post who can dedicate all their time to taking the World Heritage Site proposals forward, especially an all-important community consultation across Sutherland and Caithness.”

Frances added “I am particularly grateful to Highland Council who will act as host employer for Joe and I’m also delighted that we have funded this post from both the public and private sectors. The post is generously supported by Wildland Limited, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council.”

Nicole Wallace, Highland Council’s Environment Manager pointed out “Highland Council is happy to help the Peatlands Partnership take the proposals for UNESCO World Heritage Site status forward and I look forward to Joe starting work on this exciting project next month.”

“We shouldn’t let the fact that the Flow Country has been identified as the best peatland of its type in the world pass us by.  A Flow Country World Heritage Site would not only be an enormous accolade for the area and the many organisations, land managers, crofters and farmers who have maintained this area for generations but it would also bring many positive development opportunities and undoubtedly some challenges too.”  

The Peatlands Partnership

The Peatlands Partnership includes:  Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council, Forestry Commission (Scotland), RSPB Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, The Environmental Research Institute, Northern Deer Management Group, Flow Country Rivers Trust, The Highland Third Sector Interface and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It also liaises with local community groups, the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate and the North Sutherland Community Forest Trust.

The Partnerships is chaired by Professor Stuart Gibb of the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso and Highland Council’s representative on the Partnership is Nicole Wallace, Head of Environment.

CONTACT DETAILS:

Joe Perry  Project Coordinator, Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group

Joe.Perry@highland.gov.uk

07775 411270

Brigid Primrose Secretary: The Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group,

c/o Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House, Inverness.

Brigid.Primrose@snh.gov.uk

01463 725251 

Ian Mitchell  Secretary: The Peatlands Partnership,

c/o Scottish Natural Heritage, The Links, Golspie.

peatlands_partnership@snh.gov.uk 

0300 067 3110  

WWW.THEFLOWCOUNTRY.ORG.UK