Council update – March 2020

Extracts from the minutes of the March Council meeting

Leicester University, 7th March, 2020

Coronavirus and Liverpool: The booking numbers for the conference will be reviewed at the end of April and a decision made whether or not to cancel. Those who have booked should consult the Association’s website. The same advice applies with regard to local society and regional conferences, and to Heritage of Industry visits.

On a more positive note, speakers lined up for the Friday seminar on The Effect of Climate Change on Heritage Sites, should it go ahead, will include Rob Williamson, Miles Oglethorpe and David Knight. David de Haan has been invited to give a paper on the impact of the floods in Ironbridge.

Vacancies on Council: Members are urged to seek and nominate members to join Council at the next AGM, whenever that might be held. There will be five vacancies, and ideally we would like to see younger people and a Council more reflective of the gender balance.

The most crucial post to fill is that of Newsletter Editor, see the advert in this issue, and please contact Chris Barney directly for further information.

Giving our past a future: One of the key outcomes of this meeting was a proposal by Geoff Wallis to establish a Young Members Forum, the exact name is still to be decided, as a sub-committee of the Association. The purpose being to engage with members who are mid-career, or younger, to ensure that our industrial past itself has a future, and create a pool of possible future main Council members to carry our work forward.

Geoff’s proposal was agreed in principle, and he has subsequently drafted a detailed proposal for discussion at the June Council meeting.

Following the General Election the All Party Parliamentary Group for Industrial Heritage (APPG-IH) has been reformed for the ensuing year. Our Vice-Chairman, David Perrett, attended this meeting, during which Nick Thomas-Symonds MP was re-appointed Chairman, and all the officers were re-appointed. Shane Gould gave a presentation covering Heritage at Risk sites, an overview of the 600 preserved Industrial Heritage sites in England, the lack of available training, and that there are no relevant university courses.

Restoration Grants: John Jones commented that since the scheme began in 2008 donations, and gift aid claimed on them, amounted to almost £950k. In 2020 there will be £153k available for new grants.

Following an earlier decision that a Small Project category should be introduced, at the time of the meeting only one application had been received ahead of the 31st March deadline. The criteria for this category are on the website, along with the criteria for the larger grants.

Comprehensive coverage of the progress on recently- funded projects is to be found in IA News.

Planning Casework: Amber Patrick, our casework officer, explained the details of our new working relationship with the Ancient Monument Society (AMS) that replaced one we had with the CBA. Commenting on planning applications is an important part of the Association’s work, the IA News carries a report on this work, and fuller details are to be found on our website under News/Planning.

The Communications team reported on the progress of the new quarterly e-bulletin, it is now circulated to nearly 700 members, supporters and other IA groups. The feedback received has been positive.

An email was circulated in January highlighting the awards and grants we offer to students and academic researchers, this was sent to almost 30 UK university departments which have courses that include an element of industrial archaeology or heritage.

IA Review: The next issue, due in May, at around 90 pages will be our largest ever normal issue. This will include articles on: water-powered textile manufacturing sites in Nottinghamshire; the process of industrialization in County Durham’s Derwent Valley; the remains of an 1805 railway in Cheshire; and articles relating to tobacco factories in Spain, and sulphur mining in Chile.

Mike Nevell, our Chairman has left Salford University to become the Industrial Heritage Support Officer, based at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum. He started in March with a good hand-over document from his predecessor, Joanna Turska. He is looking to set up the three final Industrial Heritage Networks, to reinstate the meetings of the others and to work on promoting sites in Historic England’s Heritage Sites at Risk register.

Awards: Hon. President Marilyn Palmer has revised the Publications and Dissertation Awards criteria, and drafts have been circulated for Council’s discussion. It was agreed at Council that future award winners would be offered two years free membership.

Other matters deliberated on:

2019 financial accounts have yet to be audited, but they will show a small operating surplus for the year.

Membership at last year-end was 496, down slightly on the previous year.

Data for 2019 has still to be provided by Taylor & Francis, but institutional access to IA Review, via subscription, sales deals, or subject collections continue to grow, additionally, there were almost 8,900 individual article downloads in 2019. All this activity demonstrates a healthy and growing interest, both nationally and internationally, in Industrial Archaeology Review and in our Association’s work.

Bruce Hedge, March, 2020

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