A man holding a piece of metal in hot coals.
Newbigin Community Trust, Youth Blacksmithing Programme © Alexander Ramsay alexanderramsay.com
Newbigin Community Trust, Youth Blacksmithing Programme © Alexander Ramsay alexanderramsay.com

Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories

Building on the success of our first round of Everyday Heritage Grants in 2022, we are funding an additional 56 projects that celebrate working class histories and the historic places that make up everyday life.

The grants are for creative projects that focus on heritage connecting people to historic places, specifically those people and places that are overlooked or underrepresented.

Following an open call in September 2023, Historic England received over 380 applications. We are funding 56 community-led projects that will explore the diverse stories of people and places at the heart of our history, such as homelessness in Waterloo, a pen factory in Newhaven and roller-skating in Birmingham.

The total amount of funding awarded by Historic England is £875,000, ranging from £6,800 to £25,000 per individual project.

These new projects will reveal and celebrate fascinating untold stories from across England: from exploring and documenting the untold histories of St Agnes Place in Kennington (a street central to the Rastafari community and since the 1980s locally known as House of Dread) to creating an interactive walking trail to mark the 70 year history of the Leicester Caribbean Cricket and Social Club, and looking at the working class history of drag in the “Pink Triangle”, also known as the Gay Village area of Newcastle.

Encouraging people to engage with their local heritage, these projects will support them to tell their own stories, in their own way, and to connect with others in their local communities.

We hope that through these projects:

  • Heritage and stories that have been overlooked will be recognised and revealed
  • Buildings, historic sites, places or local areas will be the inspiration for exploring people’s stories
  • People will have the opportunity to tell their stories, in their own way
  • Local people will have the opportunity to connect with people in their community
  • Local people will have been involved throughout the process
  • People will have a greater understanding and enjoyment of the diversity of heritage around them

We plan to run a third round of Everyday Heritage Grants in the summer of 2024. Check back to this page to find out more details about the theme and criteria.

Examples of projects we are funding

LGBT+ Northern Social Group (NSG) defines drag as performance that explores, plays with, or challenges traditional presentations, expressions of, and ideas about, gender.

This project will look at the working class history of drag in the “Pink Triangle”, also known as the Gay Village area of Newcastle. Framing drag as a folk art with roots in Musical Hall “dandy”/ “fop” performers and 20th-century drag in working men’s clubs, up to the contemporary DIY drag scene.

The volunteer-led LGBTQIA+ NSG group includes around 2,600 members from the North East of England. It will promote and coordinate community workshops to encourage members to conduct personal research and creative activities building towards outcomes including online and in-person elements, such as an online exhibition and live drag performances.

Exploring the former site and surroundings of the legendary Quadrant Park nightclub, Queue Up And Dance aims to uncover the histories of working class life, labour and leisure in Bootle in the 1980s and 1990s.

The club was demolished in 1992, and with nothing at the site hinting at its history, the legacy of Quadrant Park is in danger of being lost.

Rule of Threes Arts is a locally-rooted arts organisation that supports communities in making creative projects about what matters to them. Working in partnership with Sefton Libraries and artists Dave Evans and Melissa Kains, the project brings together those who frequented the club in the 1980s and 1990s, and young people living in Bootle today, creating intergenerational links and engaging people in Bootle’s local heritage.

The project will share their discoveries online, in an exhibition, and through an event that will be a key moment in Sefton’s Borough of Culture 2025.

To celebrate the 70-year history of the Leicester Caribbean Cricket and Social Club, this project aims to create an interactive walking trail with up to 10 plaques placed at sites around the city significant to the club.

QR codes on the plaques will link to filmed oral history videos on a newly developed website alongside historical images and interview transcripts.

A local historian familiar with the Caribbean community will conduct interviews with long-time club members to create short-form videos focused on themes like founding stories, sporting triumphs, community events, and personal memories. These plaques will appear at locations like the longstanding clubhouse on Ethel Road.

Members' stories will spotlight how the club nurtured Caribbean fellowship and activism from its founding in 1957 to today.

This project will preserve the living heritage of this important community institution and make it accessible through interactive technology. Club members, especially younger members, will feel pride in their legacy and the wider Leicester community will gain insight into Caribbean and South Asian experiences and the club's role in building cross-cultural bonds.

Cardboard City – a makeshift encampment made from hundreds of cardboard boxes in the underpasses between Waterloo Station and the South Bank – sheltered thousands of rough sleepers over the course of around 20 years in the 1980s/’90s.

As public consciousness of Cardboard City begins to fade, and many of those who lived there are in poor health or have since died, St John's Waterloo and The Bridge At Waterloo are working to remember and memorialise this history and the ephemeral and neglected heritage of homeless people in the area.

Led by artists and people who have experienced homelessness, this project will sensitively engage with individuals who lived in Cardboard City, those who provided support to its inhabitants, and local residents. Participants will shape the outcomes of the project which will involve research and documentation of narratives, individuals, and objects linked to Cardboard City.

This project is centred around the co-creation of a touring exhibition that tells the story of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities living in Greensand Country, in Central Bedfordshire.

Full House is a child-focused charity and arts organisation that is based in the heart of Greensand Country. The year-long project will take place on three local sites, where children and families from GRT communities will be creating content alongside visiting artists, forming a body of work to be shared with the public.

Listening to the voices of communities is at the centre of Full House’s co-creation process and in the early stages of the process they will spend time with GRT families to identify artists they would like to collaborate with. This will be an important part of developing effective creative partnerships so that communities can share the stories they want to tell.

The final output will be an exhibition, co-created and curated with participants, that will tour three local libraries.

Revealing the stories of those who worked at the C&T Harris Bacon Factory, this project will work with former employees to create an archive of oral history exploring the work, life and friendships of these factory workers.

Operating for over 200 years, the C&T Harris Bacon Factory opened in the 1770s and was demolished in the 1980s. The project will be led by Yesterday’s Story, supported by the volunteers of Calne Heritage Centre and archived at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

Volunteers will collect oral histories from the former workers and present them to the local community in an accessible way. Despite the factory no longer existing, it was a huge part of Calne’s identity and is still renowned today. Yesterday’s Story wants to capture the history of those who worked at the factory before their stories are lost forever.

A list of all Everyday Heritage Grants recipients

  • Full House Theatre, Gypsy and Traveller Tales in Greensand Country, £18,950.00
  • Nene Park Trust, Digging Down, Building Up, £19,600.00
  • Red Rose Chain, Tooley's Almshouses, £9,889.00
  • The Seagull Lowestoft CIC, LANTERN, £9,566.00
  • SPILL Festival Ltd, Untitled Ipswich Caribbean Centre Project, £10,000.00
  • The Bridge at Waterloo, The Lost City of Cardboard: A Homelessness Heritage Project, £24,950.00
  • China Exchange (UK), 40 Years, 40 Stories: The Everyday Heritage of People Working in London’s Chinatown (1985-2025), £24,856.00
  • East Kent Mencap, A Day in the Life of, £7,510.00
  • Eastside Community Heritage, Echoes from the Bridge, £21,196.00
  • House of Dread, House of Dread: Rastafari Community Project, £24,980.00
  • Kingswood Arts, Seasons of Kingswood Life, £25,000.00
  • Lifesize CIC, Ponswood Stories, £12,300.00
  • London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Communities of Liberation, £24,779.00
  • Marlborough Theatre Productions Ltd, Revealing St James’s Street working class LGBTQIA+ heritage, £24,900.00
  • The Old Fire Station, Stoke Newington, The Old Fire Station N16, Looking out for our community since 1885, £9,650.00
  • On the Record, When the nursery workers said no: The Islington Nursery Strike, 1984, £12,620.00
  • Press Play Films, Parker Pens: the working class oral histories of Newhaven Town, £21,840.00
  • St Peter's Brighton, Celebrating 200 years of St Peter's, £10,450.00
  • Bertz Associates LTD, Rolling at the Tower Ballroom, £17,520.00
  • CEE NOTTS, Capturing shadows of the past, £9,409.00
    Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, Stories of Abbey Farm, £8,211.50
  • Leicester Caribbean Cricket & Social Club, Leicester Caribbean Cricket: 70 - Not out, £10,000.00
  • Nonsuch Theatre Limited, At the bandstand: 80 years of story, £16,280.00
  • OUTSIDE Creative People and Places, Leek Textile Workers, £13,175.00
  • Potboiler Theatre, Out in Hanley, £19,950.00
  • YMCA Leicestershire, Leicester's Hidden Gems, £13,783.00
  • Youth Landscapers Collective, The Stage of Possibility, £10,000.00
  • The Bare Project, Of pigeons and peas: the histories and futures of the Manor Workers' Gardens Manor, Sheffield, £19,663.00
  • Beamish, Our South Shields: Thanks for the memories, £24,820.00
  • Cultural Appropriate Resources, 56 Burngreave Road: learning from our past, £23,500.00
  • Friends of Ryton Federation, Looking out for each other, £10,000.00
  • Good Organisation (Social Ventures) CIC, Historical Perspectives of Homelessness, £11,382.00
  • Hand Of Limited, The Tyne and The Tide Project South, £6,800.00
  • Hidden Story CIC, Talking Tapestries: Stitches in Time, £20,340.00
  • History in Action CIC, Celebrating Champion Jack, £24,761.00
  • Humber Field Archaeology, Hull City Council, Seeds of Change, £24,900.00
  • Joanne Coates, On a wing and a Prayer, £9,680.00
  • LGBT+ Northern Social Group, Pink Triangles and Purple Circles: working class histories of drag in Newcastle’s Pink Triangle, £10,940.00
  • TCV Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb…, £22,070.00
  • Back on Track Manchester, Work and Play: The untold stories of urban parks in North Manchester, £9,618.00
  • Deeplish Community Centre, A Deep Dive into Deeplish, £16,630.00
  • Making Space, Port Histories, £10,000.00
  • Ragged Edge Productions, Maryport Works Audio Adventure, £9,990.00
  • Rekindle School Ltd, Great Grandmas and Glorious Girls, £23,450.00
  • Rule of Threes Arts, Queue up and dance - exploring Bootle's stories of youth culture, £12,600.00
  • Salaam Festival CIC, Sundook, £14,250.00
  • Scribblingtown, From Scribblingtown I come, £9,670.00
  • SICK! Productions, Moston, Harpurhey, Charlestown Shared Heritage Mural Project, £24,820.00
  • 1625 Independent People, Young people uncover Old Market: social change past and present, £24,995.00
  • acta Community Theatre, Bedminster Union Workhouse, £18,870.00
  • Filament Works CIC, Strandline, £9,850.00
  • GL11 Community Hub, Women's Work in Cam Mills, £9,940.00
  • Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust, Tolpuddle Family Lives: A People's Heritage, £9,978.00
  • Trelya, Istoris, £17,701.56
  • Yesterday's Story, C&T Harris Bacon Factory Oral Histories, £9,950.00