ERIH UK Chapter Summer Meeting

Twenty delegates from across the UK met at Cromford Mills, Derbyshire on 27th June 2018

On a beautiful summer’s day in June, twenty delegates from across the UK met at Cromford Mills for the ERIH UK Summer Meeting; the attractive, imposing, stone mill buildings looked at their best in the bright sunshine. Cromford Mills is an ERIH Anchor Point and part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Jonathan Lloyd, ERIH Coordinator for the UK and Ireland, commented “Cromford is a popular venue for ERIH meetings and it was a great opportunity for ERIH members and supporters to see the latest stages of the restoration and re-use of these iconic mill buildings”.

Simon Wallwork, Chief Executive of The Arkwright Society opened the meeting with a presentation about Cromford Mills, describing how it had been saved from demolition in the 1970s, achieved World Heritage Site status in 2001, and has since been transformed into a major visitor attraction. Simon explained that an important part of Cromford’s business model is the income stream generated by the numerous small businesses that operate from the site.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Michael Nevell of the University of Salford about the EU Horizon 2000-funded Storm Project (Safeguarding the future of cultural heritage sites through novel management and hazard warning systems). The project focuses on six pilot sites, one of which is in the UK, an upland valley site in Mellor in North West England. 
STORM aims to provide an integrated approach to better manage risks (resulting from climate change or natural hazards) endangering cultural heritage by creating tools and instruments designed to assist the decision-making process during natural catastrophes.

After lunch, Jonathan Lloyd opened the afternoon session with an update of recent and planned ERIH activities. This included the successful “Work it Out” dance event held in May and the Site Twinning and Links projects, which will be launched very shortly.

This was followed by a presentation by Joanna Turska, the recently appointed Industrial Heritage Support Officer, who is based at the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and whose post is funded by Historic England. Joanna outlined plans to establish Regional Industrial Heritage Networks throughout England, a number of which have already been set up. 

The final presentation was given by Richard Gough, Visitor & Volunteer Engagement Manager at Ironbridge Gorge Museums. Richard outlined the benefits of Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV) – this is where employers encourage staff to take a day or two out of the workplace each year to take part in a local volunteering project, which could be at an industrial heritage site or attraction. Richard explained that such initiatives can be of real benefit to sites, volunteers and employers.

The presentations of the meeting:

Simon Wallwork: Cromford Mills
Dr Michael Nevel: Storm. Safeguarding the future of cultural heritage sites
Joanna Turska: Industrial Heritage Support
Richard Gough: Employer Supported Volunteering

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