. . . . . . . . Hough Mill open 2-5pm Sundays to end of September . . . . . . . . . .

Awards’ Successes

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.
Museum Of The Year - reflects archive, research, exhibitions, digital engagement, mill restoration and more
Coalville Times article 23rd April 2021

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.

Best Project Under £750 - The Extraordinary People Of Swannington - the outdoor Hello Heritage sponsored exhibition

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.

Rock Fall - the death of 14 year old Thomas Webster - by Christine Davies

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.

Behind The Scenes - more than 5,000 digital photographs and 240 documents catalogued

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.

The refreshment ladies, part of the Events Team

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.

Demonstrating the sack hoist in the mill cap

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.

Bringing heritage alive - Mill Team building the wallower
2 winners plaques and 2 highly commended certificates
Behind the scenes - Archive Group scanning and cataloguing
Best project - 30 information boards on gate signs
Volunteer team of the year - Land Management contributed 2,700 hours in 2015

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.

Best project under £1000 - building the roof over the Newcomen boiler
Heritage for schools - coal mining tours
Best project over £1,000 - stabilisation of Califat coal mine engine house - loose bricks were removed until solid brickwork was uncovered, then original 1850s bricks uncovered during the excavation were used to build up the walls
Heritage group of the year trophy

The Footprints Challenge Awards 2009

Outstanding achievement - partnerships and community groups

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.

Achievement award winner 2009

Leicestershire County Council Heritage Awards 2006

Best Special Project

The Trust won this category in 2006 for its schools learning packs “Milling or Mining? at Hough Mill” and “How did Swannington impact on the development of Coalville” which were developed with teachers from Newbold and Newbridge schools.

Leicestershire County Council Heritage Awards 2005

Best Restoration Project

The Trust won this category in 2005 for the restoration of the flour dresser.

Best Restoration Project

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.  The award was for the Hough Windmill Project.

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


Environment Action