UK historical attractions receive Heritage Funding
A World War II submarine, a bridge, a seaside pier, a castle conservatory and a cathedral are the joint lucky recipients of an £11 million heritage lottery fund.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grants will allow the sites to undertake essential restoration and repair work, keeping them on the list of attractions motorhome, camping and caravan insurance customers with a passion for history can enjoy on their many travels in the UK.
The Transporter Bridge, Middlesborough
Middlesborough’s most famous landmark and is set to receive £2.6m. It is one of only three transporter bridges left in the UK; the others are in Newport and Warrington. The Grade II listed bridge opened in 1911 and is 851 feet (259.2 metres) in length making it the longest in the world. It’s cantilever construction has three main bridge spans that give it is unique appearance. The bridge is comprised of two almost independent structures joined at the centre of the River Tees. Each half of the bridge spans 140 feet (42.6 metres) and then cantilevers some 285 feet (86.8 meters) from the tower leg to meet its twin on the opposite bank. A passenger gondola is suspended by steel cables and runs on a wheel and rail system 160 feet (48.7 metres) above the River Tees.
The bridge is still in use and operates at quarter-hourly intervals between Middlesborough and Port Clarence for 18 hours each day. It enables a two-minute crossing of the River.
The grant will fund new lifts and a gondola to allow the public to see the view from the top. Guided tours and educational projects for schools will also be provided on the bridge.
HMS Alliance, Gosport
The 66-year-old vessel, HMS Alliance is another benefactor. It is housed at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, Hampshire and was one of 14 ‘A’ class (Amphion class) submarines built for service in the Far East in World War II. Due to the vast size of the Pacific Ocean, the Amphion class subs were designed with a focus on providing long range, high surface speed and relative comfort for the crew to allow for much larger patrol areas and longer periods at sea.
The Alliance was one of the first seven submarines commissioned with a snort mast, a submarine snorkel. It also had a low conning tower, anti aircraft guns and a 4” gun mounted at the front of the conning tower, typical of submarines of this period. However after the war, the role of submarines became to hunt out other enemy submarines and modifications were made to the Alliance to make it more streamlined and therefore faster and quieter ready for a role in the Cold War era.
In 1981, HMS Alliance became a memorial ship and visitor attraction dedicated to those British who have died in service. It will receive £3.4million to repair the bow and stern and address extensive corrosion on its surface. The money will also fund new facilities for visitors to the museum.
Wakefield Cathedral, Wakefield
The bells will be ringing in Wakefield Cathedral to the tune of £1.58 million. The Cathedral can date its origins back to Saxon times with the oldest part, the north aisle, dated around 1150. The majority of the cathedral was rebuilt in the early 15th century in the Perpendicular Gothic style before being restored to its late medieval appearance between 1858-74 by the prolific cathedral architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.
The Grade I listed building, home to the tallest cathedral spire in Yorkshire, will use the grant to install better lighting, flooring, heating and access.
Penarth Pier Pavilion, Vale of Glamorgan
Penarth Pier will receive £1.65 million of the lottery payout. The Pier is one of the last remaining Victorian piers in Wales and was built in 1895 when Penarth enjoyed its role as a top UK holiday destination billed as ‘The Garden by The Sea’.
The original structure was of cast iron with a timber deck and acted as a promenade and landing jetty for the then lucrative steam ship trade across the Bristol Channel. When the pier was sold to the Vale of Glamorgan Council in 1926 it was given a concrete landing stage and a spectacular art deco style pavilion, which became a popular attraction for events and tea dances.
In 1931, a fire spread almost the entire length of the pier leaving only the landward concert pavilion. The pier was rebuilt but the seaward pavilion was never replaced. Further damage occurred in 1947 when a storm forced a 7,000 ton ship, ‘the Port Royal Park’, into the pier causing extensive structural damage. It took two years and £28,000 to put right, only for the paddle steamer ‘Bristol Queen’ to do the same nineteen years later.
A restoration programme started in 1994 and culminated in a reopening of the pavilion in 1998 but further work was still required to restore the pavilion to its former glory. The £1.65 million grant will fund the restoration and redevelopment of the pavilion for use as a cinema, café, observatory and multi-purpose community complex.
Wentworth Castle Conservatory, Barnsley
The HLF has allocated £2.4 million to the restoration of one of the last surviving Victorian winter gardens in Britain. The Conservatory at Wentworth Castle in Barnsley is a beautiful iron glasshouse built in 1877 for Frederick Vernon-Wentworth and was one of the stars of the first series of the BBC’s ‘Restoration’ in 2002
The conservatory demonstrates a very early use of electricity by a family renowned for their enthusiasm of cutting-edge technology and is well loved by locals and visitors who have already sponsored 200 panes of new glass and a thriving volunteer group. The Wentworth estate is a popular landmark and is home to the UK’s finest collection of rhododendrons.
The lottery grant will be used to restore the grade II listed building which is currently only held up by scaffolding.