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Andrew Lloyd Webber Names Historic England Angel Award Winners

  • Grade I listed The Piece Hall in Halifax named the first ever Overall UK Winner!
  • The brothers who transformed derelict baths into an indoor BMX park, the woman behind a complex project to restore The Piece Hall in Halifax, young filmmakers with learning difficulties in Newcastle, an apprentice mason working at extreme heights in Northumberland and a man who made it his personal mission to repair and paint hundreds of milestones across Norfolk are all celebrated as winners
  • The Source Park in Hastings wins the public vote!

On Monday 20 November 2017 Andrew Lloyd Webber announced the winners of the Historic England Angel Awards 2017.

Supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Historic England Angel Awards celebrate the efforts of individuals and local groups across the country that have devoted their time and energy to bringing irreplaceable historic places back to life.

Cherry pickers being used to undertake the restoration of the Corbirdge Bottle Kilns
Restoration work being carried out at the Corbridge Bottle Kilns, Northumberland © Tyne & Wear Preservation Trust

The ceremony was co-hosted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose first love has always been our nation’s heritage, and historian Bettany Hughes at the Palace Theatre in London. Nominees came from across the country to celebrate the achievements of all groups, but only seven could be crowned as winners.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “Congratulations to all the winners! I'm delighted that these awards shine a spotlight on people who work tirelessly to bring our heritage back to life in such a vibrant way. I am especially pleased that we have crowned an overall UK winner for the first time. I am thrilled that it is the Piece Hall in Halifax. This stunning example of urban renewal should spur on the councils of every major city and town in Britain to do something similar. It is as if St. Mark's Square in Venice has been deposited in West Yorkshire and puts Halifax on a par with major cities in Europe. The only word I can use to describe it is inspirational.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said: “The Historic England Angel Awards show how the historic environment is for everyone. From the restoration of The Piece Hall which has become a lively destination in Halifax to the innovative business using craft skills to fix bottle kilns in Northumberland, the winners are breathing new life into our historic places. The variety and calibre of this year’s winners is truly impressive and I urge others to enter next year’s awards!”

The 2017 awards were judged by Andrew Lloyd Webber, TV’s Restoration Man George Clarke, Dean of Westminster the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, historian Bettany Hughes, Baroness Lola Young and Historic England’s Chief Executive Duncan Wilson.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation supports the Angel Awards scheme in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The awards launched in 2011 in England, followed by the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards in 2014 and the Northern Ireland Heritage Angel Awards this year.

Introducing the 2017 Overall Winner, Sponsored by Battersea Power Station

The Overall Winner award is new for 2017. Andrew Lloyd Webber and an Angel Award judge from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland together chose one ultimate winner to receive the highest accolade. 

Claire Slattery pictured in front of The Piece Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire
Claire Slattery at The Piece Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire © Historic England

2017 Overall Winner, sponsored by Battersea Power Station

Claire Slattery - The Piece Hall, Halifax

In 1779, the West Riding of Yorkshire ruled the cloth trade and the Grade I listed Piece Hall is a monument to this time. Claire Slattery undertook a complex project to restore the beauty of the Georgian building and return it as a place of pivotal importance in Halifax. By 2009, work was urgently required to restore the stonework and remedy earlier repairs. Claire successfully secured funding to safeguard the future of the Piece Hall and in 2012 restoration work began. Claire also played a key role in developing heritage spaces within the building, where visitors can learn about what has made the hall so special throughout its history and experience its atmosphere as a trading hall. Thanks to the dedication of Claire and her team, the Piece Hall reopened to thousands of visitors on 1 August 2017.

Historic England Followers’ and Telegraph Readers’ Favourite

Chosen by public vote

Rich Moore and Marc Moore - The Source Park, Hastings

Brothers Rich and Marc Moore have rescued a derelict Victorian swimming pool on Hastings’ seafront and turned it into a state-of-the-art facility for BMX riders and skaters. Having raised more than £1 million in funding and enlisting the support of the local community they opened the Source Park in March 2016. The brothers overcame significant construction challenges to turn the dank underground building into an all-weather centre for BMX riders and skaters. However their perseverance has paid off as the park has already welcomed over 70,000 visitors from all around the world. What was once a disused Victorian building that reflected the faded glory of a declining seaside town has become a vibrant new space that is helping to put Hastings back on the map.

Best Contribution to a Heritage Project by Young People

Beacon Hill Arts - Hidden Histories at Newcastle Castle

Young film-makers with learning difficulties, autism and additional needs worked with Newcastle Castle to bring to life the Hidden Histories of notorious characters from the castle’s past. The talented Beacon Hill Arts team researched the lives of castle residents from bygone eras and then carried out all aspects of the film-making process to produce a trio of films about them and a music production. The project not only delivers a highly original history lesson, it helps to dismantle stereotypes of disability. The videos can be viewed on the Newcastle Castle website.

Members of Beacon Hill Arts during acting, filming and producing the Hidden Histories films
Members of Beacon Hill Arts at Newcastle Castle during production of the Hidden Histories films

Best Craftsperson or Apprentice on a Heritage Rescue or Repair Project

Kenny Brunskill - Corbridge Bottle Kilns, Northumberland

Kenny Brunskill has carved out a niche as a mason working at extreme heights - a skill that is highly sought after in the world of conservation. Having left the British Army in 2003, Kenny developed a passion for masonry whilst working at Stone Technical Services. His enthusiasm, work ethic, maturity and natural skill at working at heights have made him the “go to” guy for masonry work on steeples and spires around the region. When the Tyne Building Preservation Trust looked to repair and consolidate the landmark Corbridge bottle kilns, it became clear that difficult access meant an innovative approach would be required. Kenny and his team devised a way to carry out repointing and brick replacement with a mixture of rope and spider crane, resulting in the safeguarding of the immediate future of the kilns. They also ran a day for trainee bricklayers to experience the challenges of working at height.

Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place

Nigel Ford - Milestone repairs, restoration and reinstatement across Norfolk

Nigel Ford has made it his personal mission to rediscover, repair and paint hundreds of milestones across Norfolk, most of which date from the early 1800s. Nigel has worked tirelessly to recover every accessible milestone in the county, whether concealed by brambles or lying in ditches, broken or buried. With the help of keen volunteers, from local Brownie packs and school children to HRH The Prince of Wales, so far over 150 individual markers have been restored to their former glory. At every step Nigel has passed on his practical knowledge as well as his passion, ensuring Norfolk retains its connection to a time when simple stones guided travellers through the county.

Nigel Ford with one of the restored historic milestones, Norfolk
Nigel Ford with one of the restored historic milestones, Norfolk © Historic England

Best Rescue of a Historic Building, sponsored by Selectaglaze

Joint winners

Claire Slattery - The Piece Hall, Halifax
Rich Moore and Marc Moore - The Source BMX Park, Hastings

In 1779, the West Riding of Yorkshire ruled the cloth trade and the Grade I listed Piece Hall is a monument to this time. Claire Slattery undertook a complex project to restore the beauty of the Georgian building and return it as a place of pivotal importance in Halifax. By 2009, work was urgently required to restore the stonework and remedy earlier repairs. Claire successfully secured funding to safeguard the future of the Piece Hall and in 2012 restoration work began. Claire also played a key role in developing heritage spaces within the building, where visitors can learn about what has made the hall so special throughout its history and experience its atmosphere as a trading hall. Thanks to the dedication of Claire and her team, the Piece Hall reopened to thousands of visitors on 1 August 2017.

Brothers Rich and Marc Moore have rescued a derelict Victorian swimming pool on Hastings’ seafront and turned it into a state-of-the-art facility for BMX riders and skaters. Having raised more than £1 million in funding and enlisting the support of the local community they opened the Source BMX Park in March 2016. The brothers overcame significant construction challenges to turn the dank underground building into an all-weather centre for BMX riders and skaters. However their perseverance has paid off as the park has already welcomed over 70,000 visitors from all around the world. What was once a disused Victorian building that reflected the faded glory of a declining seaside town has become a vibrant new space that is helping to put Hastings back on the map.

Meredith Childerstone, Chairman of Selectaglaze said: "We are pleased to sponsor this award and are very impressed by both winners. Each has demonstrated strong community support to find a sustainable long term use for buildings that have been part of local history. This helps retain the best of our architectural heritage for future generations."

Marc and Rich Moore at Source Park (former White Rock Baths) Hastings, East Sussex
Marc and Rich Moore at Source Park, Hastings, East Sussex © Historic England
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