The value of individual grants awarded has varied widely, ranging from £13.3m for Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings, to £4,900 for the refurbishment of St Michael’s Hall.
Shrewsbury and the surrounding area has remained relatively sparsely populated, despite fairly rapid population growth over the last ten years. Shrewsbury enjoys relatively low levels of unemployment and deprivation. It is much less diverse than other parts of Britain.
“Britain is renowned for our heritage. If this starts going from our lives, what will our grandchildren have?”
Shrewsbury’s residents are extremely positive about their local area. Ninety-five per cent of residents agree that it is a good place to live, considerably higher than the average of 85% across the 12 research locations. Stakeholders and workshop participants supported this finding. In the workshop, the beauty of the town and surrounding countryside, the large number of independent shops, good restaurants and a range of things to see and do were all cited as positive attributes of the area.
Eighty-nine per cent of residents say that they know at least a little about local heritage. However, it was striking that workshop participants’ understanding of the definition of heritage was dominated by the built environment – and in particularly Shrewsbury’s historic centre - and they were much slower to move on to consider other forms of heritage (for example, oral culture) than participants in other locations.
Levels of satisfaction with the local heritage are higher in Shrewsbury than in many of the other research locations (85% are very or fairly satisfied, compared with an average of 77%). Sixty-one per cent say that local heritage has improved over the time they have lived in the area.
In line with the findings elsewhere, residents are supportive of Lottery money being invested in heritage. Workshop participants talked of the importance of investment, whilst 69% of residents describe HLF’s investment in the ten projects asked about in the survey as good or excellent use of Lottery money.
About the research
Shrewsbury was one of the locations selected for all strands of research. Firstly, background data was collected to understand how it has changed over the last two decades. Six interviews were then conducted with local stakeholders from a range of categories, including local government, and tourism and culture. To understand the public perspective, 360 residents took part in a telephone survey and a further 13 residents took part in a half-day workshop. In the workshop, a range of exercises and stimulus were used to engage participants. These included presentations about two local heritage projects (the Music Hall Project and the Visitors Welcome Project at the church of St Mary the Virgin), and an exercise in which participants were asked to imagine that all local heritage had died and to write its obituary.
Heritage projects in Shrewsbury
The research project focused on the following heritage sites and projects, which are also reflected in this map.
- Quarry Park
- Shrewsbury Battlefield Heritage Park
- Acton Scott Historic Working Farm
- Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings
- Draper's Hall
- Montgomery Canal
- Historic building restoration in Shrewsbury town centre
- Snailbeach Leadmine
- Lilleshall Manuscript Collection, Shropshire Record Office
- Venus Pool Nature Reserve
*Grants awarded to projects in the Shrewsbury research area up to September 2013.