The organisers of this conservation effort are delighted to say that the Dukesfield Smelters & Carriers project will now be going ahead!
It’s now full steam ahead for a major conservation and heritage project centred on remains of the North-east’s lead industry thanks to a grant of over £246,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The announcement comes after 18 months of collaborative planning work on the Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers project led by the Friends of the North Pennines charity and the communities of Hexhamshire and Slaley parishes.
“This is fantastic news” said Ian Forbes, Chair of the Friends of the North Pennines. “It means we can carry out our two year plan to celebrate an industry that was vital to the development of the North- east region. It linked the high Pennine dales to Tyneside, and the successful partnership we have formed with the team in Hexhamshire and Slaley reflects our desire to reconnect communities along the old lead routes, and help them celebrate their heritage.”
Team member and Hexhamshire Parish Councillor Greg Finch added “this grant award is a great tribute to the huge amount of work put in by many people. More importantly it now means we can conserve the physical remains of the Dukesfield mill arches, and involve people in learning new skills in a range of conservation, research and heritage activities. There are already nearly 100 people on our mailing list, living at all points from the North Pennines down to Blaydon, and we know many are keen to join us in finding out about those who worked at Dukesfield and along the routes which carried the ore and lead. It will all help stimulate the exploration and understanding of our area and its industrial past.”
Dukesfield’s smelting mill was central to the development of the lead business of the Blackett and Beaumont families in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the project has the support of their descendants, Lord Allendale’s family. “Dukesfield played an important part in our family story” said the present Lord Allendale, “so naturally we’re delighted to help this tremendous project put together by the local community, which clearly also has a great affection for the lead industry’s heritage.” Allendale Estates, who still own the land, are preparing to grant a long lease of the mill site to the project.
Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, commented on the funding: “We are delighted to see the project reach this point. The significance of the lead industry to Tyneside is often overlooked despite being such an integral part of its economic and social history, with Dukesfield mill considered to have been the largest in Europe at one point. This project will preserve this great legacy while providing numerous benefits for the volunteers involved and the wider community.
The project was awarded a development grant by the HLF in June 2012 to produce full plans, the technical work on which was led by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Staff Unit based in Stanhope. Preparations are now under way for the delivery phase of the project, which is expected to start later this spring. “There will be a wide range of opportunities for people to get involved” added Ian Forbes. “This is a project for communities along the whole length of the lead route.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the project can contact the team via email, using the address email@example.com.
On Sunday March 17th, around 30 people turned up to hear a second report on progress with the community purchase of the Rose & Crown.
Michael Darrington praised the hard work of those involved in the detailed preparation of plans for the cooperative, while Norman Watson outlined the work being done to complete the purchase. However, a sum of between £250,000 and £350,000 will need to be raised from a combination of loans, mortgages and investors’ share purchases. As the R&C is listed, there is a possibility of aid from the Architectural Heritage Foundation.
Every household in the parish will soon be receiving a letter inviting residents to invest in shares (with a minimum of £500), and a full prospectus will also be available.
A public meeting will be held in the Commemoration Hall, Slaley on:
Sunday 17 March 2013 at 4 pm
to provide an update on progress so far, and to discuss what comes next with regard to the proposed community ownership of the Rose & Crown.
As announced in the parish Newsletter, progress has been continuing towards laying the foundations to purchase the R&C:
- A steering group has been set up which is responsible for managing the efforts to purchase the R&C. This group operates separately from the Community Trust.
- Negotiations continue with Marstons.
- Registration of a cooperative body, “Slaley Community Assets Ltd”, should be complete by the end of February. This will be the legal entity responsible for the purchase and management of the R&C in due course.
- A meeting of everyone who expressed an interest in getting involved with the purchase and running of the R&C was held on the 3rd of Feb. It was an excellent and very enthusiastic turnout. We now have a lot more resources, skills and experience needed to assist with the project.
- A full structural survey will be carried out by the end of February.
- The business case to purchase the pub is being finalised, and will be reviewed by accountants Price Waterhouse Cooper in due course.
- We are in the process of designing and setting up a web-site which (in addition to public meetings, newsletter and press updates) will help us to communicate our efforts more widely and to fund-raise in due course.
Please come along to the meeting to ask questions, share your views and give support to this venture.
If you are unable to attend the meeting but would like to give your support, please contact Norman Watson (Steering Group Chair) on 01434 673914, or David Allsop (Steering Group Secretary) on 673686.