Aerial view of a coastal artillery battery next to the sea.
Heugh Battery, Hartlepool, Co. Durham. © Heugh Battery Museum
Heugh Battery, Hartlepool, Co. Durham. © Heugh Battery Museum

Historic England Supports Restoration of UK’s Only World War I Battlefield

Historic England has awarded almost £40,000 towards the restoration of Heugh Battery in Hartlepool - the UK’s first and only World War I battlefield.

On 16 December 1914, the coastal artillery battery on Hartlepool’s headland engaged in battle with three German battlecruisers, which were attacking the North East coast. The German ships shelled Hartlepool, killing over 100 civilians and injuring a further 400. Returning fire, the Heugh Battery guns caused minor damage to the enemy vessels but this is thought to have been to enough cut the bombardment short.

Now run as an independent military museum by Heugh Gun Battery Trust, the site needs significant repair work and is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, as part of the Hartlepool Headland Conservation Area.  

Heugh Battery has a range of problems including concrete decay, metalwork corrosion, poor ventilation and flooding, which has resulted in some parts of the museum being closed to the public. These issues will only become worse if no action is taken.

Historic England’s grant of £38,530 will help to fund specialist surveys of the battery to assess the extent of the damage and pay for the development of a repair and maintenance plan. This work will help to unlock further funding for the repairs and marks the first major step in securing the long-term future of the site.  

The Heugh Battery is one of the most important historic military sites in England. We are really pleased to be working with the Heugh Gun Battery Trust to restore this cherished local attraction.

Tom Gledhill, Heritage at Risk Projects Officer Historic England

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