Monday, 20 April 2009

Civic Trust folds!

Gayle Mill (click to enlarge)

A quick blog about the shocking news that the Civic Trust has folded, another victim of the financial problems so many are facing:

As reported in the AJ today:

Shock as Civic Trust folds
20 April, 2009 By Richard Waite

The Civic Trust has become the latest victim of the credit crunch after plunging into administration

The 52-year-old charity, which acted as the umbrella group for more than 750 Civic Societies across England, was best known for its annual Civic Trust Awards, its campaigning to ‘create better, people-friendly places’ and supporting the preservation of local heritage sites.

It is understood the ‘squeeze on local authority spending’ finally spelled the end for the Trust which, sources claim, had been in difficulties ‘for some time’.

Heritage Link, which represents 78 voluntary heritage organisations across the country, said the Trust’s demise had sent shockwaves through the sector.

A spokeswoman said: ‘The Trust captured the mood of the nation when quality of life [when it was founded in 1957], improving and caring for places where people live and work [and] won political and popular support.

‘[It] made a significant contribution to policy work and in sharing best practice on planning and heritage matters including heritage protection reform.

‘That special perspective will be sorely missed.’
Will Palin from SAVE Britain’s Heritage agreed that the ‘news was a real shock’.

The collapse of the Trust, which boasts Griff Rhys Jones as its president, emerged on Friday (17 April).

Talking to the BBC, Civic Trust chairman Philip Kolvin blamed the lack of local authority funding and added: ‘I still passionately believe in the civic movement, but it now needs grassroots members of vision and energy to start afresh with a new organisation, working within its means and building gradually from the bottom.’

This year’s Civic Trust Awards - which could now be the last – heaped accolades on more than a 100 buildings which it regarded as making an ‘outstanding contribution’ to the built environment.

These included Rogers Stirk Harbour’s Maggie’s Centre at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith and Gareth Hoskins’ Culloden battlefield visitor centre in Inverness.

Griff Rees Jones will be presenting a programme on Wednesday evening TV Restoration Revisited:

Restoration had a huge impact on how the nation thought about its deteriorating historic buildings. Over three series, Griff Rhys Jones introduced 72 architectural treasures. From crumbling castles to jewels of the industrial age, all with compelling cases, all in danger of being lost and all needing help. Viewers were invited to vote for the buildings they wanted to save.

In this one-hour special, Griff revisits some of the buildings and the campaigners who captured the nation's heart, discovering what has happened since. What will the future hold?

What indeed, when organisations like the Civic Trust go under, and Heritage Lottery funding has been slashed in order to pay for the Olympics.

I have a number of photos I took of Gayle Mill, Yorkshire, in 2008, pictured on the BBC site link with Griff Rhys Jones in front. A fascinating place, a worthy past Restoration contender, and lottery cash made its rescue possible. Here's a web album of shots:

Gayle Mill 2008

Here's the official website, with a great deal of info:

Friends of Gayle Mill, with more photos:


Heritage Forum:

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