Throughout it’s life the amazing work of Swannington Heritage Trust and its fabulous volunteers has been recognised by numerous awards. In particular, since 2014 the Trust has been the most successful heritage and museum organisation in Leicestershire in receiving awards.
Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Awards 2021
Another evening of super successes for Swannington Heritage Trust
The 2020 awards were delayed because of the pandemic. The 2021 awards were for projects completed April 2018 to December 2020.
The Trust entered six award categories and were delighted to win three of them and be highly commended in a fourth.
2021 Museum Of The Year – Winner
Entry summary – During 2020 Swannington Heritage Trust has successfully responded to the coronavirus pandemic while also continuing to prepare for the future. (The entry also included the entries to five project categories.)
Managing During The Coronavirus Pandemic
- Although Hough Mill could not be opened during the pandemic, volunteers estimate that the number of walkers through Trust sites during 2020 was two or three times the number of previous years.
- Site work continued between lockdowns.
- Fencing a coal mine shaft, phase one conservation of the Newcomen boiler.
- Developing the digital audience with social media posts, new website pages, YouTube slideshows.
Preparing for the future
- National Forest woodland management grant for the Swannington Incline.
- Developing plans for a new support building.
- Commencing the third phase of Califat coal mine consolidation.
- Beginning work on a children’s trail.
- Museum Development East Midlands grants to improve the website and upgrade archive laptops.
2021 Best Project Under £750 – The Extraordinary People Of Swannington
Entry Summary – An outdoor, website and social media exhibition to share the stories of some of Swannington’s fantastic families. Included world war service, miners, dressmakers, elastic web factory workers, librarian, teacher and pioneers. Facebook reach of 46,900 and more than 300 new digital photos and documents.
Many thanks to all the Facebook posters whose comments, information and photographs aided the Trust’s research and archive material and helped win this award. Plus a big thank you to North West Leicestershire District Council who had the brilliant idea of heritage on your doorstep during the pandemic. NWLDC financed and printed eight A2 information boards for the Trust as part of their sponsorship of the annual Hello Heritage festival.
2021 Best Research Project – Swannington’s Coal Mining Children – Winner
Entry Summary – The Trust’s Research Team identified 19 child miners from the 1841-1861 censuses. More than 500 people were researched when studying the lives (and some sad deaths) of the child miners. Their stories have been told on the Trust website, social media and during coal mining tours.
Local artist Christine Davies painted “Rock Fall” to illustrate the death of 14 year old Thomas Webster in 1841, read the account on the Child Coal Miners page.
2021 Behind The Scenes – Achieving More During The Pandemic – Highly Commended
During the pandemic the Archive Group stopped physical meetings, held Zoom sessions and revised their aims to focus on gathering and cataloguing digital documents, photographs and other items. As a result the rate of progress significantly increased compared to previous years.
Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Awards 2018
2018 Volunteer Team Of The Year – Family Events Volunteer Team – Winner
Entry summary – This team of enthusiastic volunteers group together on an ad hoc basis to host our successful family events around four times a year. Together we run ever more popular family events including Easter at the Mill, Strawberry Fayre, Take Teddy to the Mill and Christmas at the Mill.
2018 Best Project Under £750 – Another Step Forward, The Sack Hoist – Highly Commended
Entry summary – In challenging conditions, volunteers spent a year designing, testing and building an operational sack hoist in the cap of Hough Mill to raise grain sacks to the top floor. This is the latest in a series of projects over more than two decades to restore the mill to working condition.
Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Awards 2016
2016 Best Project Under £750 – Informing Our Main Audience – Winner
The Trust identified their main audience, ascertained their needs and developed a permanent exhibition to meet them. This comprised designing and fitting 30 information boards to 15 gates within the 10 acres of industrial history sites to assist the 15,000 annual visitors who walk through the sites and visit the mill.
2016 Volunteer Team Of The Year – Land Management Team – Winner
The Land Management Team maintains the Trust’s 10 acres of historic industrial history sites. Team volunteers contributed 2,700 hours during 2015, plus 450 hours assisting with other Trust activities. They take on virtually any task. Visitors regularly comment on how much the sites have improved.
2016 Bringing Heritage Alive – Building The Wallower In Public – Highly Commended
Two volunteers spent a year building the Wallower before installing it in the mill cap. The public visited the workshop during mill openings, thereby enabling them to see the progress. The public could understand how the five foot diameter wheel was a significant stage in the mill’s restoration.
2016 Behind The Scenes – Cataloguing Essentials – A Successful Start – Highly Commended
The aim was to learn how to implement a collections management system, then generate sufficient enthusiasm for Swannington’s social history to recruit and train volunteers to form a new team to start digitising and cataloguing the Trust’s artefacts and the village archive thereby making it accessible.
East Midlands Heritage Awards 2015
The Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Heritage Forum’s awards are always highly competitive with lots of wonderful projects. The regional awards with entries from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire were even tougher, while there were some volunteer groups there were lots of entries by council and other museums employing professional stall. The Trust did very well just to have its three entries shortlisted.
2015 Heart Of The Community – Swannington, Surrounded by Heritage – Winner
Swannington Heritage Trust engaged community groups by working in partnership with them to research Swannington’s history and develop innovative interpretation (such as paintings, models, costumes and books for children) to help make heritage interesting for museum visitors and participants in school and family events.
2015 Judges’ Special Award For Excellence – Winner
The judges looked at the entries for all of the categories to choose an overall winner. Swannington Heritage Trust’s had had three entries shortlisted:
- Engaging Children And Young People – Heritage Is Fun – the new family events Take Teddy to the mill, Easter at the mill and Christmas at the mill, plus work with schools and youth groups.
- Heart Of The Community – Swannington, Surrounded by Heritage – a Heritage Lottery funded project where the Trust worked with schools, Swannington art class, the Women’s Institute and Leicestershire Industrial History Society to explore and share the heritage of the village.
- Innovation – Swannington Before The War – researching the census of 1911 and mounting an exhibition outside houses of the people who had lived there a century earlier, this supported an indoor exhibition.
The Trust was joint winner along with Leicester Arts and Museums Service for their work on German expressionist paintings.
Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Awards 2014
2014 Heritage Group Of The Year
Organisations did not enter this category. The judges looked at the entries to the other categories and determined the overall winners of the Heritage Group Of The Year and Museum Of The Year.
2014 Best Collections Project On A Shoestring (under £1,000) – Return Of The Newcomen “Haystack” Boiler – Winner
To put on display to the public an original 18th century Newcomen “haystack” boiler near to the former colliery site location it was excavated from in 1969. As well as difficulty in moving the boiler to the site, a canopy was built to help protect it from the elements.
2014 Opening Your Doors to New Audiences – Heritage For Schools – Winner
Working with primary and secondary schools to bring heritage alive to new audiences of school children, with a view to developing an ongoing mutually beneficial partnership. Achieved by using a variety of original and innovative participatory activities allied to some established favourites.
2014 Best Collections Project The Whole Shoe (over £1,000) – Stabilisation Of The Califat Engine House – Highly Commended
The reconstruction of the base of a 19th century colliery engine house, showing the outline of the building and the plinths where the stationary steam engines stood. This enables visitors to better understand and interpret the surface layout and workings of this former colliery.
The Footprints Challenge Awards 2009
Leicestershire and Rutland Heritage Awards 2009
2009 Achievement Award
Extract from Denis Baker’s chairman’s report 2009 – Our involvement with the Leicestershire and Rutland Museums Forum has been recognized by gaining a number of awards during the 20 years of the latter’s existence but we were hugely delighted this year to proudly accept their Special Achievement Award for our efforts.
When we prepared our entry, even we were surprised to record what had been achieved since our inauguration for we own and manage Swannington Incline, two sites of nineteenth century coalmines, part of the ancient common and Hough Windmill. All of these we make freely accessible to the public, who much appreciate them. The efforts of our volunteers deserve much recognition and we are encouraged by the grateful comments of both regular and casual walkers of the Trail week by week.
Leicestershire County Council Heritage Awards 2005
Best Restoration Project
The Trust won this category in 2005 for the restoration of the flour dresser.
Association of Industrial Archaeology 2004
2004 Dorothea Award For Conservation
Trust chairman Denis Baker and graphics designer Martin Bird went to the AIA national conference in Hitchin to receive their national award for conservation and a £500 cheque.
Leicestershire County Council Heritage Awards 2002
Best Restoration – Commended
When restored Hough Mill opened to the public in 2000 it did so without any facilities such as toilets, water, electricity or additional display areas. In 2001 a “service building” was built. Bill Hale named it the “Jerry Leakins” as a combination of the names of prominent volunteers Terry Leader and John Wilkins.
The service building housed a composting toilet and a small display area. A few months later a generator was added to enable Hough Mill to be supplied with electricity during visits.
Leicestershire County Council Heritage Awards 2000
This was for the restoration of Hough Mill.
Leicestershire & Rutland – Village Ventures Competition 1999
1999 Environmental Improvements
Joint Third Plaque – Swannington Incline Cottages Trail
Age Resource Awards 1996