Workers queuing outside a mobile canteen
A view of workers using a mobile canteen following flooding on the construction site of Coryton Oil Refinery in 1953 © Historic England Archive. John Laing Photographic Collection JLP01/08/008088A
A view of workers using a mobile canteen following flooding on the construction site of Coryton Oil Refinery in 1953 © Historic England Archive. John Laing Photographic Collection JLP01/08/008088A

Historic England Announces Grants Opportunities to Uncover the Nation’s Hidden Working Class Heritage

Today (Monday 21 February 2022) Historic England has announced its Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories which will fund community-led and people-focused projects that aim to further the nation’s collective understanding of the past. These grants will focus on heritage that links people to overlooked historic places, with a particular interest in recognising and celebrating working class histories.

Heritage should be for everyone. From palaces to terraced houses, stately homes to barns, our towns and landscapes are filled with symbols of our past. But not everyone’s stories are told and not everyone’s history is remembered.

  • Does your local railway, mine or factory have a fascinating story to be told?
  • Is your coastal or rural town filled with tales about the people who previously lived and worked there?
  • Have you always wanted to celebrate the cool architecture of the place where you live?

The Everyday Heritage Grants aim to address these questions by engaging with the widest possible range of heritage and helping to further the nation’s collective understanding of England’s past.

The histories of castles and great houses and their inhabitants are well documented, but we know far less about our everyday heritage. From council estates, pubs and clubs, to farms, factories and shipyards, these are the places where most people have lived, worked and played for hundreds of years. We want to explore these untold stories and celebrate the people and places at the heart of our history.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Historic England

Our heritage belongs to us all and should be accessible to everyone. I welcome plans for new community-led projects to tell the story of working people across the country, bringing our collective and shared history back to life.

Nigel Huddleston, Heritage Minister

Inviting applications

Historic England is inviting applications from community or heritage organisations to apply for grants up to £25,000 to fund projects that will celebrate the built or historic environment near them. We are particularly interested in funding smaller grass roots projects of less than £10,000.

Each project should enable people to creatively share overlooked or untold stories of the places where they live and encourage communities, groups and local people to examine and tell their own stories in their own ways.

Historic England is also hoping for projects that provide innovative volunteering opportunities for young people or people facing loneliness or isolation, as well as contribute positively to participants’ wellbeing.

As a result of these projects, heritage and stories that have been previously overlooked will be recognised and revealed, with buildings or historic sites acting as the inspiration. People will be able to tell their own stories, in their own way, and be encouraged to connect with others in their local communities.

Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories

Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories are the first of many cultural projects that Historic England aims to deliver over the next three years in order to shine a light on the diversity of our heritage. The grants are being delivered as part of our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy published in November 2020 and outline Historic England’s commitment to help the heritage sector become more inclusive, which is fully aligned with government policy and wider practice.

The grants will open on Wednesday 23 February and the closing date for submission of proposals is Monday 23 May.

For more information about the project and how to apply, please visit our grants page from Wednesday 23 February or email [email protected]