Historic England launches grant scheme to shine light on nation’s working-class heritage

‘The histories of castles and great houses and their inhabitants are well documented, but we know far less about our everyday heritage.'

The Historic England Archive Photograph captured in 1961 showing women at work in the packing department of the Wear Flint Glass Works, Sunderland. IMAGE: © Historic England Archive.

Historic England is inviting applications for a new funding scheme that seeks to celebrate untold and overlooked stories of local heritage and historic places, with a particular emphasis on those conveying the experiences of the working-class.

Announced on Wednesday, the scheme Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories offers grants of up to £25,000 for projects led by community or heritage organisations that highlight the tales of ‘ordinary’ local individuals and places.

It is hoped each project will enable communities to explore and tell stories from the past that may not be widely known or celebrated, but for which they feel an affinity.

The Historic England Archive People walking past market stalls in Rupert Street, Soho, with the entrance to Winnett Street to the right of frame, and Brewer Street in the background. Photographed 1955-1965. IMAGE: © Historic England Archive

‘The histories of castles and great houses and their inhabitants are well documented, but we know far less about our everyday heritage,’ said Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England.

‘From council estates, pubs and clubs to farms, factories, and shipyards, these are the places where most people have lived, worked and played for hundreds of years. We want to explore these untold stories and celebrate the people and places at the heart of our history.’

The Historic England Archive Taken in 1953, this photograph shows workers using a mobile canteen following flooding on the construction site of Coryton Oil Refinery. IMAGE: © Historic England Archive. John Laing Photographic Collection.

Projects providing volunteering opportunities for young people or those facing loneliness or isolation are particularly welcomed.

The scheme is being delivered as part of Historic England’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. It is the first of many they hope to deliver over the next three years that are designed to enhance understanding of the nation’s diverse heritage.

Applications close on 23 May 2022.

For more information about the scheme and how to apply, please visit Historic England or email EverydayHeritage@HistoricEngland.org.uk.