South's heritage sites hit by lockdown get financial boost

Malcolm spoke to Paul Bromley from the Bluebell Railway, Lewes MP Maria Caulfield and Duncan Kerr from the Wave Leisure Trust.


Castles, cathedrals and steam railways across our region are among those getting cash from the government to help them overcome the challenges of the pandemic. 

The money comes from the Culture Recovery Fund. 

Today it was also announced that 1,300 arts venues and organisations across the UK will receive up to £1 million each as a share of £257 million of state funding.

The tranche of cash is part of the Government’s £1.6 billion Culture Recovery Fund, and will “protect these special places” which “form the soul of our nation”, said Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Monday’s recipients are venues and organisations who applied for less than £1 million, with future releases of up to £3 million going to larger organisations in the future, it added.

More than 400 heritage organisations round the country will share over £100m. 

Those in the south include:


  • The Bluebell Line

  • Canterbury Cathedral

  • Highclere Castle

  • Portsmouth's Historic Dockyards

  • Salisbury Cathedral

  • Shell Grotto in Margate

  • Swanage Railway

  • The Watercress Line

  • Winchester Cathedral


Organisations welcomed the funding as an “essential lifeline” to ensure heritage sites can remain open following the financial hit caused by Covid-19.

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield backs the recovery plan


Canterbury cathedral will benefit

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a nation, it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past.

“This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post-Covid.”

Highclere Castle gets £72,000

Grants are between £10,000 and £1 million, with a further round of up to £3 million due to be announced imminently.

Twelve organisations – including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust – will receive £34 million to restart construction and maintenance projects.

Portsmouth's Historic Dockyards will benefit

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England.

The AHF will use the money to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.

Lucy Worsley, chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.