March 2019 Council meeting update

The first Council meeting of 2019 was held at Leicester University on 2 March 2019, the main points are summarised here.

The Chairman, Mike Nevell, announced that our agreement with The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) dating back to 2008 is to be reviewed. The review will be undertaken by Marilyn Palmer and the Chairman.

Mark Watson stated his intention of stepping down from the roll of the UK’s national representative on TICCIH.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has been re-named as the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Mike also noted that the funds available over the next five years are down by 50%.

Historic England and Industrial Heritage. There has been a further re-organisation within Historic England. Shane Gould’s secondment to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport in order to produce a strategy has been extended from two to three years. The draft strategy will be reviewed with the AIA in due course.

Two further events were noted by the Chairman: an Early Steam Engine Conference is to be held at the Black Country Museum in May 2020. The Association will provide £150 sponsorship for that event. Secondly, the CBA North West Industrial Archaeology Panel, chaired by Mike, is holding an event on early Steam Engine Archaeology at Bolton Museum on 27 September.

Treasurer’s Report. John Jones noted that our surplus for the year ended 2018 was a healthy £8,900, that more than offset the deficit of £6,800 in the previous year. The turn-around was largely due to a conference surplus, increased royalties from our publishers, Taylor & Francis, and lower publishing costs for IA News and IA Review.

Restoration Grants. £124,282 is available for the 2019 round of applications. All our grant funded projects are recognised by our logo and a credit. This could be improved by the addition of a ‘QR’ code which would allow access to further information. It was agreed that we could generate better publicity by producing a glossy publication, typically showing ‘before and after’ images.

Membership Report. Bruce Hedge reported that our membership at the end of 2018 was 500, a drop of eight from 2017. Renewals for the current year (end of February) were 442, however, it should be noted that not every subscription is due for renewal in January.

Forward Plan. As part of our forward planning a Communications Plan has been circulated; a high priority in this is the need for a quarterly e-bulletin. Marilyn Palmer has agreed to compile these and Bill Barksfield has agreed to circulate. It was noted that we now have 2,748 followers on our Facebook page. Paul Collins was commended for this.

Conference Report. It was agreed that all future conference tours, i.e. from 2020 onwards, would be charged at the same price. This avoids refunds where delegates swap tours whilst at the conference.

For this year’s Somerset conference (9 – 14 August) it was agreed that our Affiliated Societies should be invited to take a stand at no cost. Space must be booked with the conference secretary in advance: conference@industrial-archaeology.org A contract has been concluded with Liverpool’s Hope University for our annual conference running from 20 to 27 August 2020.

For the Dublin conference in 2021 Dublin City University is Council’s first choice for a venue, it being close to both the airport and the ring-road.

Planning Casework. Amber Patrick has been working on a proposal for closer liaison with the Ancient Monuments Society (AMS). The AMS Trustees, ‘are delighted to accept (the) proposal for closer working between us’. The AMS is a general and not a period society and will be referring to us the industrial planning applications for our comments. This will be for a trial period of one year initially. Reciprocal membership between our two societies was agreed.

Industrial Archaeology Review. Ian West reported the first issue for this year will contain a wide variety of topics:

  • China clay working in Devon
  • A sugar plantation in Antigua
  • A lock cottage on the Regent’s canal
  • Millstone quarries in Ireland
  • A railway works in East London
  • Salt production in China.

Ian has received a Publisher’s Report which showed the IA Review had 112 institutional subscribers in 2017; additionally the Review was also available to 2,428 institutions via Taylor & Francis’s licensed sales deals. We are also seeing a dramatic increase in article downloads. The total number in the 12 months to June 2018 was 12,328, an increase of 161% over the previous 12 months.

Chris Barney, the I A News editor, gave notice that he will edit the News for a further year only, and that a new editor will need to be sought.

Association Awards. The following award applications have been received for 2019:

  • Postgraduate dissertations: 3
  • Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship: 2
  • Voluntary Society Publications: 3
  • Commercial Publications: 1
  • Archaeological Reports: 2
  • Dorothea Award: 1.

From next year onwards, as conference falls increasingly in August, is was agreed that all award deadlines will be 31 January, apart from the Restoration Grant deadline which will remain at 31 March.

It was also agreed to offer a full year’s free membership to all future award winners.

Field Visits. Bill Barksfield announced two tours in the Country House Comfort & Convenience series in 2019, including a new one, ‘The Weald of Kent and Sussex’ in June. A repeat tour of the North West will take place at the end of September.

The Spring Tour of Hungary 13 to 18 May is open for booking. http://www.heritageofindustry.co.uk/Longer%20Tours/2019_Hungary/Hungary2.html

Sales Report. Roger Ford has ceased to be the Sales Officer and this role will be covered by David de Haan. A new sales page will be launched soon to take online orders for back numbers of IA Review and Gazetteers. Roger deserves our thanks for many years’ enthusiastic service in the role of Sales Officer.

Web Report. Bill Barksfield reported our web-site continues to receive about 100 hits per day. There are about 60 searches of our website per month. The top queries last year were, ‘Grants’ and ‘Restoration Grants’.  The third most popular hit was, ‘Characteristics and Forms of Road Transport’ with 1,903. This appears consistently at the top of the table of hits.

There was a disappointing response from our Affiliated Societies to a mailshot sent 23 October last year on ‘AIA launches new Research Grant’, only 30 read it and 6 clicked through, this means that 25 Affiliated Societies don’t read our emails.

BAA and Heritage Angels Awards. The 2018 BAA awards were presented at Central Hall, Westminster on 15 October. A report giving an outline of entries of direct industrial archaeological interest has been submitted to IA News. These were of a maritime nature.

In November the Historic England Heritage Angels Awards for 2018 took place, hosted by Bethany Hughes. The Bulmer Brick and Tile Company of Suffolk received the award for ‘Best Crafts Persons or Apprentices on a Heritage Rescue or Repair Project’. The award for the ‘Best Major Regeneration of a Historic Building or place’ went to the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent.

Joanna Turska, the Industrial Heritage Support Officer reported that the ‘Guidelines for Industrial Heritage Networks’ have been finalised and can be downloaded via the new Industrial Heritage Networks (IHNs) website at www.industrialheritagenetworks.com. This site works as an information hub about the networks, explaining their purpose and operation. There are now 11 networks in operation or under development across the regions.

Finally, Mark Watson steps down from Council at the next agm and announced that this meeting was the last he would be able to attend. Mark was behind the organisation of two successful conferences in Scotland, Dundee in 2013, and Caithness last year. His contribution to the Association’s activities will be greatly missed.

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