In 2010, the British heritage sector contributed £7.4 billion to the economy and provided more than 190,000 full-time jobs. Yet industrial heritage contributes significantly to the UK’s overall cultural legacy and the conservation of our industrial heritage defines our engineering history and has the potential to inspire our future.
A key challenge facing the industrial heritage sector is how to retain the traditional skills, specialist knowledge and contextual experience required to sustain the conservation of our industrial legacy.
The Institution recommends that:
1. The industrial heritage sector works together to share best practice. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers would be willing, as an intermediary, to facilitate in the connectivity between societies, either in general or by specialism or issue if requested.
2. National organisations act to provide advice and guidance to all industrial heritage societies on how to maintain and preserve artefacts/sites and establish best-practice guidelines. It is in the national interest that these artefacts and sites are maintained, and these organisations are best placed to help establish core values.
3. The DCMS encourages the relevant national bodies to recognise the importance and potential value of the nation’s industrial heritage.
4. The Institution’s membership, where possible, be encouraged to help in the preservation and maintenance of industrial heritage artefacts and sites. The academic and engineering industrial knowledge of the Institution’s 100,000 members is a valuable asset which could assist local organisations in preserving industrial heritage for the future.
The full Industrial Heritage Policy Statement is available here.