Anniversaries can bring people together and foster community spirit and community action, but they can also spark debate and highlight different views of the past. They provide a way for us to think about what’s important to us, and what shapes our identity.
At HLF, we provide funding for projects to mark anniversaries of all kinds. Grants start at £3,000. Groups and organisations can apply under our Sharing Heritage, Our Heritage, Young Roots and Heritage Grants programmes.
HLF has already funded a number of projects linked to anniversaries, from the internationally important Bicentenary of the Abolition of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Act in 2007 and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015, to the 50th anniversary of Telford New Town and the 30th anniversary of Leicester Belgrave Mela.
You might find the following examples of what we have funded useful:
- Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, marked the Bicentenary of his birth in 2009 with a redevelopment of the house and a programme of activities.
- The British Deaf History Society is marking its 25th anniversary by collecting and sharing deaf people’s stories and heritage.
- The people of Stoke St Michael in Somerset explored the role their village played in the preparations for D-Day in 1944.
- The Charles Dickens Museum, housed in the author’s London home, re-opened in December 2012 following a major investment that saw the building transformed and doubled in size in Dickens’ Bicentenary year.
- The Nine Men of Madeley is a community heritage project in Shropshire marking the 150th anniversary of a mining disaster at the Brick Kiln Leasowes.
- Midlothian Voluntary Action is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a focus of community activism in Midlothian, by recording oral histories with people involved over the last four decades to share the heritage of this post-industrial area.
- In Stirling, a new state-of-the-art visitor attraction commemorates the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and its place in shaping the history of Scotland.
- The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ birth in October 2014 with a new permanent exhibition on his life and work.
- Many groups are marking the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215 with a project focusing on their area’s contribution to this historic moment, including Unlock Democracy, the Guy Fox History Project in London, Long Crendon Preservation Society, and a range of heritage and other organisations in St Albans. There is also a national project led by the Battlefields Trust.