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Historic England Awards An Everyday Heritage Grant To Highlight Holbrook's Hidden Heritage

Published on Tuesday 2 August 2022

Funding has been awarded to a heritage project in Holbrook, Derbyshire which highlights the framework knitting industry as part of Historic England’s ‘Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class History.’


The new grant scheme was launched by Historic England earlier this year to support community-led projects and further the nation’s collective understanding of the past. 

Community and heritage organisations were invited to apply for grants to unlock untold local stories and hidden histories. 

MSDS Heritage will be running a project called Holbrook's Hidden Heritage in partnership with Holbrook Community Society and Holbrook Church of England Primary School.

MSDS Heritage are based in the village of Holbrook, Derbyshire. The village sits just outside the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the village community was employed in a range of working class trades, as agricultural labourers, miners or as stocking frame knitters. In 1845 there were 54 stocking-frame workshops in the village with 152 stocking frames operated by 146 workers, who had the materials for their livelihood supplied by the nearby cotton mills at Milford and Belper. Today there are only two listed stocking-frame knitters workshops in the village, but evidence for more in the fabric of the other historic buildings in the area.

Holbrook's Hidden Heritage will explore the evidence for the existence of working class communities and cottage industry within Holbrook in the early 19th century. This project is a partnership between a number of parties who live, work and love the village of Holbrook. Together they will investigate the histories of their own houses, streets and village through the use of documentary evidence and analysis of the historic buildings within the village. The links between the history of the village and the nearby World Heritage Site will be explored to reveal the untold story of how villages like Holbrook contributed to the rise of the cotton industry in Derbyshire.

Dr Michael Lobb, MSDS Heritage Project Manager, said: "MSDS Heritage are based in the village of Holbrook, and are run by professional archaeologists who are also members of the local community who live, work and send their children to school in the village. We are delighted to be running this project with the village community and look forward to finding out more about the place we all love."

Ingrid Taylor, Headteacher of Holbrook Church of England Primary School, said “Holbrook Church of England Primary School is excited to be part of the Hidden Heritage project which gives children such a meaningful opportunity to be historians and explore the heritage of their community.”

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “Heritage should be for everyone. I am delighted that we are able to provide funding for this project through our Everyday Heritage Grants, which will help to bring our collective and shared history back to life. These grants will enable people to tell their own stories, in their own way, and connect with others in their communities through a shared understanding of their local heritage. 

He continued: “The histories of castles and great houses and their inhabitants are well documented, but we know far less about our everyday heritage. From council estates, pubs and clubs, to farms, factories and shipyards, these are the places where most people have lived, worked and played for hundreds of years. We want to explore these untold stories and celebrate the people and places at the heart of our history.”

Everyday Heritage Grants: Celebrating Working Class Histories is one of many ongoing cultural projects that Historic England is delivering in order to shine a light on the diversity of the nation’s heritage.




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