Interior view of the pumping station, looking towards the main atrium space, showing restored and unrestored ironwork
Crossness pumping station, Bexley © Historic England Archive DP183402 See the List entry (Grade I)
Crossness pumping station, Bexley © Historic England Archive DP183402 See the List entry (Grade I)

Introduction to Issue 26

Shane Gould, Historic England's Head of Industrial Heritage Strategy introduces Issue 26 of Historic England Research Magazine, which explores aspects of industrial heritage, Palaeolithic landscapes, and the relationship between intertidal heritage and biodiversity.

In this issue

Historic England has a strong and continuing record in carrying out research, and preparing advice, guidance and publications on England’s industrial heritage. Having gone into partnership with Liverpool University Press, this issue mainly focusses on a number of recent Historic England publications on our rich industrial past.

We start with George Demidowicz’s seminal volume ‘The Soho Manufactory, Mint and Foundry, West Midlands: Where Boulton, Watt and Murdoch made History’ , which describes one of the key sites of the Industrial Revolution.

The article, 'When Soho lead the World' introduces this ground-breaking industrial complex, including the first purpose-built steam engine manufactory in the world and the first industrial building to be lit by gas – the Soho Foundry.

Some of the engines manufactured at Soho Foundry supplied sites described by James Douet in ‘The Architecture of Steam: Waterworks and the Victorian Sanitary Crisis’.

His article points out transformative effect these had on our towns and cities by providing clean water and removing sewage and waste. Drawing on international comparisons, Douet highlights the significance of the British evidence with the remarkable statement that ‘there are more conserved steam waterworks in Staffordshire than in most European countries’. Many retain in-situ steam plant and a number are open as heritage attractions.

Geoff Timmins considers the impact of textile factories, workers’ housing and their variability, together with associated infrastructure improvements, which are addressed through a series of cases studies in his publication ‘The Built Environment Transformed: Textile Lancashire during the Industrial Revolution’.

This complements our other work carried as part of the ‘Mills of the North’ project, where further resources can be found, including the recently published ‘Textile Mills: Introduction to Heritage Assets’ 

Drawing on material from ‘Oasts and Hop Kilns – A History’ (Grattan 2021)  and ‘The Buildings of the Malting Industry – The Production of Malt from Prehistory to the 21st Century’ (Patrick 2023), the final two articles by Patrick Grattan and Amber Patrick look at two building types both associated with the brewing industry. They describe their history, form, function, distribution, development, including the influence of technological improvement, survival and future reuse.

These complement two earlier English Heritage (now Historic England) publications: ‘Built to Brew – The History and Heritage of the Brewery’ (Bevin 2014)  and ‘Licensed to Sell – The Historic and Heritage of the Public House’ (Brandwood, Davison and Slaughter 2011).

We also build on the previous issue's theme of managing change at landscape level with two further articles on that topic:

  • 'Mapping the Palaeolithic' by Keith Wilkinson and Monika Knul, looking at the landscapes of the longest and perhaps least familiar period in our past and 
  • 'Investigating the Intertidal Zone', by  Louise Firth and Daniel Maudlin, which looks at investigating both the intertidal historic landscape and biodiversity of Plymouth Sound.

Finally in this issue we have our regular roundup of recent research reports.

Name and role

Shane Gould

Title and organisation
Head of Industrial Strategy at Historic England
Shane Gould is Head of Industrial Heritage Strategy within the Policy Development Department of Historic England. He has held various positions within the organisation and before that was employed mostly in local authorities. Shane has written a number of books and articles on industrial heritage and industrial archaeology and regularly gives lectures on the subject; he has a particular interest in the coal industry.

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