Woodhorn Colliery added to ‘at risk’ register - but there's good news for Amble and Holy Island

St Cuthbert's Island.
St Cuthbert's Island.

Conservation work carried out in Amble has been highlighted as one of the year’s success stories by Historic England.

It has published its 2018 Heritage at Risk Register, the annual snapshot of the health of England’s historic places.

Amble Conservation Area.

Amble Conservation Area.

‘This town centre conservation area in the port of Amble has undergone improvements in recent years to its buildings and streets,’ reports Historic England.

‘Following a joint project between Northumberland County Council and Historic England (then English Heritage), grants were given to building owners in the main shopping area of Queen Street, and vacant buildings are occupied once again.

‘New housing at the harbour has been developed and private investment attracted. Public realm improvements by the county council have begun to stitch various parts of the conservation area back together, providing a platform for economic development.

‘Today, independent trading seems healthier in the town and in Queen Street local businesses report a general uplift in trading.’

Woodhorn Colliery

Woodhorn Colliery

Another success story has seen the medieval chapel and other buildings on St Cuthbert’s Island, Holy Island, removed from the ‘at risk’ register.

‘Coastal erosion is affecting many archaeological sites around the coast of England,’ states Historic England.

‘North Sea storms had been slowly dismantling a medieval chapel and other buildings on St Cuthbert’s Island, placing them on the register in 2011. But following a successful programme of repair (backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund) to stabilise the eastern side of St Cuthbert’s Island from erosion, they have this year come off the register. Access to the Island by the public is possible at low tide from Holy Island.’

In contrast, Woodhorn Colliery is among the new sites added to the ‘at risk’ register.

‘The head gear machinery is becoming very difficult to maintain in a sound and weathertight state,’ states Historic England. ‘While some repairs have been completed in the past five years, further work is needed.

Historic England is celebrating 20 years of the Heritage at Risk RegisterThree-quarters of sites (80) in the North East that were on the original register in 1998 have been rescued and removed, among them Felton Park Greenhouse, Doddington Bastle, Great Chesters Roman fort and Hadrian’s Wall.

Kate Wilson, Heritage at Risk principal, said: “Our Heritage at Risk register has provided an excellent tool for highlighting the special, historic places in the North East in need of our care and attention. Historic England has dedicated time, expertise and money to rescue many of these precious places.”

She added: “In many cases they have found new uses so that we can still enjoy the contribution they make to our towns, cities and villages, bringing quality to our lives in the places where we work and play.

“Many people and organisations have played a part in this success story and we are proud to have worked with them in delivering the results. Despite the successes, the work continues as other places are being neglected and falling into disrepair. Many have been added to this year’s register and we will focus our attention on them in the years ahead because investment in our heritage is an investment in the future of the North East.”