Industrial Heritage Strategy response

The Gardens Trust (GT) has commented on the draft Historic England Industrial Heritage Strategy. The strategy aims to set out a clear vision for the protection of industrial heritage.

Industrial buildings and infrastructure often sit within important landscapes. Many power stations, reservoirs and roads had landscapes designed specifically for them by eminent landscape architects. We support this initiative as a good way to draw attention to the wealth of interesting and important industrial landscapes in England and to encourage further research, recognition and protection.

Highlights of our response

Points made in our response, written by Sally Stradling on behalf of the Gardens Trust, highlight:

  • the wide range of industrial heritage landscapes: from Halifax valleys where textile mills were built, canals, railways, and model factory villages through to 20th century power stations and reservoirs
  • the need for consistency in the identification, conservation and redevelopment of industrial sites
  • that Landscape and Visual Assessments and Heritage Impact Assessments should be required as a condition of planning permission for large-scale road, rail or housing schemes
  • characterisation studies and industrial heritage studies could form Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) alongside local development plans
  • the GT and County Gardens Trusts may be able to help with the research and drawing up of register entries for local lists to protect local and regional industrial heritage landscapes
  • 20th century designed landscapes remain insufficiently recognised and protected
  • the GT believes there should be a comprehensive assessment of designed industrial landscapes, leading to a national published list

Prior to the redevelopment of large parts of the 18th to 20th century industrial areas of Banbury in Oxfordshire, an industrial archaeology survey of the Oxford canal corridor identified previously unknown pre- and post-1800 industrial heritage. Although there was sadness at the demolition of some historic buildings, the study meant that there was a record of their existence and some buildings were converted to new uses.

Protecting 20th Century industrial heritage

Many 20th century industrial developments, such as power stations, reservoirs, factories or flyovers, have landscape settings designed for them by eminent architects, planners and landscape architects. These include the design by Maxwell Fry and Peter Youngman for the Pilkington Glass Factory, Sylvia Crowe’s design for the  Cumberland Bridge flyover in Bristol, and Sir Frederick Gibberd’s work at Didcot A Power Stations and Derwent Reservoir. Our post-war gardens and landscapes project succeeded in adding two such landscapes to the register in 2019: the watercourse designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe for Cadbury’s factory in Moreton and Dan Kiley’s landscape for the Cummins Engine Factory in Darlington.

Example of an Industrial Heritage landscape: Jellicoe Watercourse for Cadbury's factory, Moreton
Jellicoe Watercourse for Cadbury’s factory, Moreton © Historic England Archive

However, too few 20th century industrial landscape settings are currently recognised and protected. Such landscapes deserve to be urgently researched and assessed for inclusion on the national Register of Parks and Gardens or included in Local Development Plans as assets of local interest.

National list of industrial landscapes

The GT believes that there should be a comprehensive assessment of the designed landscapes of industrial heritage, whether surviving or not. This would enable us to raise the profile of these sites through research, publication and lectures, We would welcome the opportunity to work with Historic England on the compilation of a national list of Industrial Designed Landscapes.

Read the GT Response to HE Industrial Heritage Strategy 1 June 2021

View the Historic England draft Industrial Heritage Strategy

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Painswick Roccoco Gardens, the Red House, Photo © Joab Smith