Restoration Grants

Grants of up to £20,000 are available

Nearly £1,200,000 allocated since the scheme began

Despite the extremely difficult times for the industrial heritage sector due to Covid-19, the AIA Restoration Grant scheme has still been able to offer vital funds to a wide range of industrial heritage restoration projects, thanks to the continuing support of our anonymous donors.

Even before the pandemic the preservation of the industrial heritage had become increasingly dependent on such aid and, indeed, the AIA Restoration Grants were repeatedly mentioned and welcomed by several speakers at the Summit on Industrial Heritage, held by the All Parliamentary Party Group on the Industrial Heritage (APPG IH) at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2019.

The first of these grants were made in 2009, and from the initial modest beginnings we have since been able to allocate nearly £1.2 million (up to Oct 2022). A brief history of the scheme and details of many of those projects can be found below.

Regular updates on progress with these projects appear in I A News, our quarterly bulletin.

From 2020 onwards the available Grants pot is divided into two categories:

  • Major projects where the maximum grant that can be awarded is £20,000. The grant from the AIA must be a significant part of the total project cost, not just a small contribution to a very large project, so that the AIA grant has real impact. The AIA would not normally fund projects where our grant represents less than 20% of the total project costs;
    Small projects which are allocated at least 20% of the available funds. The grant limit is £7,500, for which the total cost of the project, excluding the value of volunteer labour, must not exceed £10,000.

Download Criteria and How to Apply for a Restoration Grant

A brief history of the AIA Grant Scheme 2009-2020

Back in 2009 one of our members approached the AIA Chairman offering to make a sum of £30,000 available to grant aid projects. The anonymous donor was keen that the money would be for a significant part of capital works allied to volunteer input and if the scheme attracted worthwhile applicants it might be continued in subsequent years! This was a somewhat tentative beginning to a grants scheme that has seen the AIA becoming a truly significant player in the preservation of the industrial heritage. The initial modest foray into the restoration field in 2009 produced four very disparate awards totalling some £37,000. Though some of these projects took longer than others, all were eventually completed and reported as such in IA News. In the following years the attendant publicity generated an ever-more numerous and wide-ranging list of applications, many seeking quite substantial funds and the maximum award per project was raised from £15,000 to £20,000. The range of applications also greatly widened. Thus IA News over the next few years was able to report on: the repairs to narrowboat Tarporley, the restoration to working order of the papermaking machine at Frogmore Mill, the rebuilding of the wagon weigh bridge at Wharf Station on the Tallyllyn Railway, the excavation and interpretation of Wellington Wheel Pit at Mellor Mill, the restoration of a rare Robey under-type steam engine, the restoration of the Ellen Road Petrie Beam Engine and the restoration of the Windermere Steam launch Osprey. In recent years the generous increase in funds from our original benefactor was augmented by those from a second anonymous donor and we have witnessed a huge increase in applications to the Grant scheme. Transport projects remain a large component of these applications. These, in addition to the sites and artefacts mentioned above, include:
  • Canals: Locks, such as the unique graving dock lock on the Stover Canal and Bowbridge Lock at Stroud, the Saul Junction swing bridge, the Wappenshall canal warehouses and canal boats such as the lighter Susan;
  • Railways: Railway buildings, structures and equipment, such as the Ferryhill turntable and the GWR Pattern Store; standard and narrow gauge railway engines including 1949 William Murdoch, the 1906 locomotive Desmond, the 15 inch gauge Thorpe Light Railway locomotive, the WW1 armoured Simplex rail tram car, a rare tamping engine, railway carriages and wagons of all shapes and sizes including the LNER Thompson coach, the Lion Salt Works salt wagon and the Ryde Pier Tram;
  • Maritime Vessels: such as sailing barges Dawn and Brittannia, the steam launch Lady Elizabeth, the lifeboat Swan and the steam tug Kerne.
Almost all aspects of the industrial heritage have been covered by AIA grants:
  • Repairs to windmills such as BillingfordOld Buckenham and Danzey Greenwatermills, and steam mills such as Beeleigh;
  • Mill engines and associated machinery also feature regularly in the list, including the 1802 Boulton & Watt engine at the Verdant Works in Dundee, the Leigh Spinners Mill engine and the line shafting at Bristol Underfall Yard;
  • Agricultural portable steam engines such as the Empress of Britain and the road roller Stumbles;
  • Mines and Mining equipment such as Big Pit Headgear, the roof of Hemingfield Colliery Winding Engine House, cranes and excavators such as the Bath Quarry cranethe Bucket Excavator at the National Mining Museum England, and the water-powered pump-rod system at Wheal Martyn china clay works.
There have been some more unusual but nevertheless significant awards: The Colonsay iron light chamber, the rare Penistone cinema organ, the Coker twine works, the Woodbury gashouse, the lead smelter remains at Crich, Grane Mill chimney at Haslingden, and the 1812 header pond for steam engines at Crofton Pumping Station.

So far, over the thirteen years of the scheme, over £1 million has been donated which has attracted a further £220,000 Gift Aid, enabling more than eighty restoration projects to be grant aided.

Details of all the awards can be found below:
Read the Article on the 2022 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2021 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2020 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2019 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2018 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2017 Restoration Grants
Read the Article on the 2016 Restoration Grants
Grants awarded in 2015 were:
North East Maritime Trust, for fitting out the restored life boat H.F.Swan. South Tynedale Railway, for a narrow gauge track tamper. The Thorpe Lt Railway in Co Durham, for restoration of a 15 in gauge locomotive. The Prickwillow Museum, for renovation of a Petter two cylinder engine. The Coker Rope & Sail Trust, Somerset, for restoration of machinery in the Coker rope works. The Stover Canal Trust, Devon, work on a canal graving dock. The London Wildlife Trust, work on Woodberry Wetlands gas house.
Click on any of the thumbnails below to see a larger version
Grants awarded in 2014 were:
LionSaltWaggon The Lion Salt Works relied on the rail network in parallel with the adjacent canal. The salt wagon (left) is typical of that used in the industry and is to be restored to be displayed at the revitalised salt works: £20,000 was awarded. Verdant Work’s Boulton & Watt rotative engine of 1801-2 in Dundee is one of the world’s most important remaining engines. £20,000 has been allocated for its restoration and display. The Boiler Header Pond at Crofton Pumping Station is thought to be contemporary with the 1812 Boulton & Watt engine. Restoration of the Header Pond will enable it to be used for refilling the boiler. £7,000.
WappenshallWharfBuilding Two very fine Grade II listed 19th century canal warehouses at Wappenshall Wharf (left) in Shropshire designed by Thomas Telford. £20,000 has been allotted for their restoration.
ColonsayLightChamber The Colonsay light chamber (left) was built by David A Stevenson in 1903 at Scalasaig, the main harbour and ferry terminal for the island. £4,300 has been granted for its renovation and display.
In 2013 four awards were made:
DanzeyGreenWindmill Further restoration of the Danzey Green Windmill (left) at the Avoncroft Museum of Buildings, £6,790. Work has been completed. Restoration of the derelict Bowbridge Lock on the Thames & Severn Canal by the Cotswold Canal Trust, £20,000. After some initial engineering problems work is now proceeding well. Restoration of a 1950 Thompson composite corridor railway carriage No 18477 by the London & North Eastern Railway Coach Association, £15,000. Work is due to start soon. Rebuilding of the 1927 Ryde Pier Tram No 2 on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway by the Isle of Wight Railway Company. £15,000. Work on this project has been delayed due to problems with the condition of the operational IOW coaches.
Two restoration Grants were made for 2012:
GraneMillChimney Grane Mill in Haslingden, Lancashire for the restoration of the top of the chimney (left) which was on the point of collapse. Grane Mill is important as one of the very few former Lancashire weaving mills that survives with its engine and boilers intact. Work is being conducted by the Heritage Trust for the North West on the long term restoration of the site. The consolidation of the chimney was one of the essential pieces of work that needed to be carried out before any progress could be made on the restoration of the rest of the site. This work was completed in the autumn of 2012. The Tramway Museum Society at Crich in Derbyshire. This grant has been made, not for trams, but for the consolidation and interpretation of rare surviving remains of a lead smelter on the Society’s Crich Tramway Village site. After a series of delays this project is due for completion in early 2015.
Five Grants were made in 2011:
WeighbridgeTalyllyn The Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Trust was awarded £2,000 towards the cost of rebuilding of a wagon weigh bridge (left). This project has been completed and the finished weighbridge and the associated building can be seen at Wharf Station on the Talyllyn Railway.
Steam Launch Osprey Lakeland Arts Trust has been awarded a grant of £15,000 towards the restoration of Steam Launch Osprey (left) at the Windermere Steam Boat Museum. Work is now well advanced on this project.
Mellor Archaeological Trust have had an award of £15,000 for the excavation and interpretation of the Wellington Wheel Pit at Mellor Mill. The work has been completed and the site is now open to the public. The Robey Trust have been awarded £10,000 towards the cost of moving and restoring a rare Robey undertype steam engine. The removal from the original site has been completed and work is progressing on the restoration. Ellen Road Steam Museum has been awarded £12,000 for the overhaul of the preserved Petrie Beam engine. Work on this project commenced in early 2012 and is now complete.
In 2010 awards were made to the following and :
FrogmoreMill Repairs to the narrowboat ‘Tarporley’ at Camden Canals in London, £3,500. Restoration of a 19th century papermaking machine (left) for display in working order at Frogmore Mill, The Apsley Paper Trail, £9,870. Both projects are now completed
The first Grants were awarded in 2009:
VIC32 boiler The Scottish Maritime Museum was awarded a grant of £2,750 towards the restoration of the original vertical cross-tube boiler from the Clyde puffer VIC 32 (left). This project is now complete and the boiler is on display. The South Yorkshire Trades Historical Trust were awarded a grant of £5,000 towards the restoration of the stone slate roof of the Hoylandswaine Nail Forge. The roof repairs have now been finished. The Beamish North of England Open Air Museum was awarded a grant of £14,000 towards the restoration of two Londonderry Chaldron Waggons. The project is completed and the waggons are on display in the colliery area at Beamish. The Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port was awarded a grant of £15,000 towards the restoration of Box Boat No 337 and boxes. After some problems sourcing timber and getting craneage the project is now complete and the boat back in the water.