Mining Institute hits gold

The Mining Institute's main hall is to be restored Credit: Mining Institute
A total of £8.6million in National Lottery grants will preserve UK’s industrial heritage, from Newcastle’s Mining Institute to Sherwood Forest’s industrial past

Projects focussing on the industrial heritage of cities and towns across England and Wales have been awarded National Lottery funding to support the regeneration of key buildings, high streets and landscapes.

The Common Room of the Great North

The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers in central Newcastle, which houses an extensive archive of the industrial revolution, telling the stories of how the North East changed the world, will be rescued with a £4.1m grant.

The Institute, founded in 1852, was the first professional mining institute in the world, aiming to “advance the science and art of mining” and to bring down the death toll and accidents in the industry. However, 166 years later, the building was at risk of being sold, and the collection dispersed.

This new cash injection will revitalise the Grade II-listed building and digitise the largest single collection of mining material in the world. The Institute will become the Common Room for the Great North, a public space telling the story of the North East’s industrial past, and inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.

A range of public spaces will provide space for educational workshops and lectures, as well as events such as live music and comedy.

From Newcastle to Nottingham

National Lottery funding has been awarded to three other projects preserving and regenerating post-industrial areas across England and Wales: Townscape Heritage projects will rejuvenate historic areas of Blaenavon in South Wales and Mansfield in Nottinghamshire; and Nottinghamshire County Council and local partners have been awarded funding to involve residents in uncovering and sharing Sherwood Forest’s industrial and mining past.

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of HLF, said: “British industry, manufacturing and engineering changed the world. Places like the Mining Institute, and communities such as those in Nottinghamshire and Blaenavon, were pivotal in this important moment in our history. That’s why we’re investing £8.6m to help local communities reconnect with their heritage and to explore and celebrate our industrial past. 

“We believe that Britain’s powerful industrial heritage has a role to play in encouraging future generations to pick STEM careers.  These four projects will not only inspire new talent, but also provide much-needed training and educational opportunities.”

Projects funded:

Revitilisation of the the Mining Institute and creation of the Common Room of the Great North - £4.1m

From Miner to Major: the Real Sherwood Forest - £2.4m

Blaenavon’s Townscape Heritage - £1.2m

Mansfield’s Market Place Conservation Area - £849,100

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