Treasuring heritage – how Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting Hull

Evidence of Hull’s renaissance is plain to see. Significant investments by, and successful collaboration, among local authority, the University of Hull, many of the city’s major employers, and other agencies reveal a city on the march towards a more sustainable and flourishing future.

The spotlight at present falls in Hull on the City of Culture celebrations. And it is triumphantly showing a growing local, national and international audience a vibrant, engaging city with a great depth of heritage and a sparkling future. Soon the focus will turn to ensuring this renaissance lasts.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is delighted to have contributed substantially to Hull’s efforts. Thanks to those who play the National Lottery, the HLF is the largest UK funder of heritage, and it seeks to make a lasting difference to heritage assets, their communities and the individuals related to them.

To date, it has awarded £7.6 billion for more than 41,000 projects. In Yorkshire and the Humber region alone it has made over 3500 grants worth in excess of £500 million. This year, about £300 million will be available nationally for distribution. The HLF responds to applications, and Hull has been particularly active in producing quality proposals, so that to date the HLF has supported 125 projects in the city with grants totaling £49 million.

…to date the HLF had supported 125 projects in the city with grants totaling £49 million.

Beyond the HLF, Hull has also received massive support from other National Lottery distributors – the construction of The  Deep was 50% funded with grants worth approximately £25million from the , and in 2017 alone the area received 29 grants from the Arts Council, The Big Lottery Fund, and Sport England. All this support is a measure of the confidence being placed in promoting Hull’s future.

Hull’s largest and most recent HLF grant, announced in June 2017, embraces all the ambitions we have: to develop infrastructure, restore buildings, conserve artefacts and archives; and to use the investments to promote the interests of the community, create jobs, encourage education and training, recruit volunteers and engage with a wider public.

The £14 million award is a contribution towards the £26 million cost of developing and sustaining the city’s internationally important maritime heritage: the transformation of the famous but faded Maritime Museum; the building of a new collections store at the Dock Office Chambers, the conservation of the Arctic Corsair and the Spurn Lightship; and the creation of a new visitor centre and dry-berth at the derelict north-end shipyard.

Some of the other large projects supported by the HLF in Hull are well known. The total National Lottery contribution to the City of Culture is more than £10 million, including support from the Arts Council, the Big Lottery Fund, Spirit of 2012, and the BFI, and HLF has contributed £3 million of this, to ensure heritage is firmly embedded at the heart of the celebrations.

Hull’s parks and streetscapes have seen improvement through HLF help in restoring East Park. A recent grant of £3.2 million similarly will transform Pearson Park (overlooked by the recently “listed” flat of Philip Larkin), and link to the Beverley Road Townscape Heritage Scheme.

There are regeneration projects in the Museum Quarter, St Andrew’s, and the Old Town, and restored buildings such as the Wilberforce House Museum. Hull Kingston Rovers rugby club is now able to look after its artefacts and archives in a new community centre, and there are several other similar initiatives.

And then there are the awards to heritage places of worship. Here the improvements range from repairing roofs, broken gutters and structural failings to new facilities and organ restoration supported by community engagement and heritage activity plans. Saints who will recognise the benefits in Hull include St Giles, St Charles Borromeo, St John the Baptist, St Alban, and St Matthew. Holy Trinity, now Hull’s new Minster, has achieved massive restorations through a variety of funding sources, including the HLF.

Finally, but not least, the HLF has been able to support numerous groups celebrating heritage events, such as those arising from the two World Wars, and other significant anniversaries such as the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade.

The total value of HLF grants to Hull alone requires the purchase of more than 874,000,000 lottery tickets! That’s 874,000,000 contributions towards extraordinarily good causes in Hull.

Our first vote of thanks goes to all those have worked so hard to accomplish these changes with HLF support. Restoring heritage is never easy, and usually more challenging than at first it seems. It requires vision, skill, determination, as well as resources. Hull has shown what can be achieved.

But chiefly our thanks go to all those in Hull and elsewhere who buy National Lottery tickets each week. Without them, none of this would be possible. At a rough guess the total value of HLF grants to Hull alone requires the purchase of more than 874,000,000 lottery tickets! That’s 874,000,000 contributions towards extraordinarily good causes in Hull.