Log in | Register

Emergency Covid-19 grants to help heritage projects unveiled

Words: Laura Edgar
Alde Museum, Moot Hall / Britten Pears Arts

Historic England has announced that 70 projects will receive a share of £1.8 million to help to tackle the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on the heritage sector. 

The grants will help to provide social distancing guidance for archaeologists during digs to support for voluntary organisations and craft works, such as stonemasons. 

The Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund was set up in April with the aim of supporting the heritage sector through the impact of the pandemic and to prepare for recovery.

Organisations were advised to apply for grants of up to £25,000 to address financial difficulties and grants of up to £50,000 for projects and activities to reduce risks to heritage by providing information, resources and skills.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Our emergency grants are providing a much-needed safety net to organisations and businesses that are helping to save our most precious heritage such as King Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, in Portsmouth. If they go out of business at this difficult time some of our heritage will be lost forever. As we move towards recovery, we are pleased to offer grants to innovative projects and craft workers to help get the heritage economy moving. Our historic places bring us together, boost the economy and revitalise local communities. It is vital that they survive intact.”

The next strand of Historic England’s Covid-19 grants response – Heritage at Risk emergency funding – is due to be announced in mid-June. 

The successful applicants include:

£5,000 to explore Aldeburgh's heritage collections, Suffolk. This is a partnership between two heritage organisations in Aldeburgh: The Red House – a grade II listed house that was the former home of the Suffolk composer Benjamin Britten, and Aldeburgh Museum, which is located within grade I listed Moot Hall. This joint project aims to share the stories and collections from both cultural institutions with a wider and more diverse audience, and help local people to better understand their history and heritage while developing new skills and qualifications.

The project is aimed at families who will be able to download weekly activity sheets from their websites. It also provides an opportunity for families to work together to achieve an Arts Award qualification, by completing arts and crafts activities and outside games.

£25,000 for the specialist conservation of King Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, which sank in battle in 1545. The Tudor warship displayed in the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, with its collection of 19,000 Tudor artefacts, must be kept at the right temperature and humidity to avoid rapid deterioration. The money will help to cover the salaries of three essential conservation and collections care staff, who will continue to monitor, maintain and repair the complex environmental systems that look after the ship.

£14,364 for digital engagement specialist L.P Archaeology to produce a free toolkit that helps archaeologists put social distancing in place during archaeological fieldwork. The toolkit should provide a series of short videos, a brochure and supporting materials including sample archaeological risk assessments that can be adapted to different forms of site work. These resources are aimed at archaeological contractors and other specialists to enable the industry to safely get back to work. 

Image credit | Britten Pears Arts