Historic England

Rejuvenation boost for Belsay Hall

A multimillion-pound "rejuvenation" project is to get under way at Belsay Hall next spring.

The English Heritage site has been awarded a total of £5.5m - which includes £1.9m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as grants from other donors.

It will be used for restoration work on the hall, coach house, and part of the castle.

A family-friendly space and facilities, and an extensive woodland play-and-learn area with an outdoor classroom, will also be created.

English Heritage said the work would start in the spring, with phased completion in 2021 and 2022.

Belsay Hall
English Heritage

Historic areas of Barrow being neglected, agency warns

Two historic parts of Barrow town centre have been put on a list of heritage sites at risk because of neglect and decay.

House of Lords

Historic England says the Central Barrow Conservation Area and the neighbouring area around St George's Church are "deteriorating" partly because of the fire damaged former club, known as the House of Lords.

Funding has recently been allocated to regenerate the area.

Roman graffiti
Historic England

However, Roman graffiti in a quarry near Hadrian's Wall is now off the register because, although it is still suffering erosion, 3D records have now been made.

And repairs to flood damage at the former gunpowder works at Sedgwick, near Kendal, mean that site is also now seen as safe.

Historian applauds Dorset bridge nomination for international award

Wool Historian Alan Brown: "I can see it from the garden where I was born".
The restoration of an iconic Dorset landmark is in contention for a prestigious international award.

Grade II listed Wool Old Bridge was restored after partially collapsing in January 2018.  Erosion of the bridge foundations caused the arch and wall to slip into the river and action was needed to make a well used crossing point safe.

The 2018 reconstruction was led by Dorset Highways and Dorset Council and overseen by Wessex Archaeology - engineers used temporary rock armour while a final design was concluded. The repair was completed in 20 weeks, using modern materials which have been clad in stone recovered from the watercourse and new stone sourced from the same bed used to construct the bridge 500 years ago. During the restoration, over a million litres of water had to be pumped out of the working area. 

The Wool Old Bridge is a 16th Century Grade II listed structure and acts as a crossing point for the River Frome. It featured in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbevilles. Historic England described the stone structure as one of the best examples of an Elizabethan bridge in Dorset.

Wool historian Alan Brown told BBC Radio Solent reporter Laurence Herdman: "It was built in about the 15th century, I imagine by the monks of Bindon Abbey just down the road because along those times no-one had responsibility for building bridges, only local landowners or ecclesiastical houses".

In July 2019, The Wool Old Bridge Regeneration Project received the highly competitive ICE South West People’s Choice Award. Selected from a shortlist of 14 projects the Wool Old Bridge received 3,500 votes by members of the public from across the South West. The annual ICE South West Awards has become the highest regional honour for engineering and now winning projects are being recognised at an international level. After winning the South West Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) People’s Choice award, the Wool Old Bridge Restoration Project has been shortlisted for the international ICE People’s Choice Award 2019. The awards celebrate the best civil engineering projects of the year; projects that have had a positive impact on their local communities. 

Other shortlisted projects for the international award include: the Northern Spire Bridge in Sunderland, the Colwyn Bay Waterfront in Wales, the Shed cultural centre in New York City and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Macao Bridge.

Diving to start on two unidentified shipwrecks off Dorset coast

Wreck sites with several cannons lie close to shore off Chesil Beach.
Two unidentified protected shipwrecks off Chesil Beach have left historian scratching their heads for the last decade. The sites  are believed to date back to 1650-1733. 

A team of Dorset divers is taking part in a project led by the Nautical Archaeology Society, commissioned by Historic England and supported by the Maritime Archaeology Trust.

A set of cannons lie tight inshore together with a stack of cannonballs, with a further site located a few hundred yards further out. 
To date, despite site assessments their provenance remains unproven. A 2017 Historic England report says the identity is likely to be a significantly large 18th or 19th century ship judging by the size of the guns.

Volunteer diver Nick Reed from Swanage likened it to: "a bit like having all the pieces of a jigsaw without the box". 

One possible candidate for the shipwreck identity is De Hoop or Hope, a 1749 wreck of a Dutch West Indiaman which stranded at Chesil Cove en route from Jamaica and/or America to Amsterdam, laden with gold and silver coin, linen, woollen goods and tobacco. 

Photogrammetry equipment will be used to produce 3D modelling of the latest exploration.