Hadrian's Wall at Housesteads Crags

Hadrian's Wall Trust to close following funding cuts

Rebecca Atkinson, 26.03.2014
English Heritage pulls funding to World Heritage Site
The charity that runs Hadrian's Wall says it has taken the decision to wind down over the next six months after it failed to plug a funding shortfall.

The Hadrian’s Wall Trust was set up to manage the Unesco World Heritage Site, supported by English Heritage, Natural England and eight local authorities.

Despite launching fundraising appeals, the trustees said that the “significant financial constraints” of its funding partners meant it had no choice but to close the charity by September.

“This is the challenging environment in which charities operate today,” the statement added. “We are working together to produce a strategy that will ensure the core responsibilities of the trust can be sustained and the legacy of its fine work preserved for the future.”

English Heritage's funding to the Hadrian’s Wall Trust was £167,000 in 2012/13 and £139,000 in 2013/14. A spokeswoman said funding has been declining year-on-year with the aim to make the trust self-sufficient, in line with other World Heritage Sites.

English Heritage and the trust’s other funders are working with the Northumberland National Park Authority and the chairman of the World Heritage Site Management Plan Committee to put new arrangements in place to safeguard the landmark.

In a statement, English Heritage said that discussions around the future of the trust’s work, including the national trail and Hadrian’s Wall bus, are “well advanced [and] partners are confident that alternative arrangements can be put in place as a priority”.

Henry Owen-John, English Heritage’s north west planning director, added: “The most important thing for all of us is the preservation and maintenance of this hugely important historical monument.

"We are doing all we can to introduce effective new arrangements to protect and promote Hadrian’s Wall and maintain the national trail so people can continue to experience this fantastic historic monument.”

English Heritage will provide funding to help establish new arrangements for the site in 2014/15 and potentially in 2015/16.

Hadrian’s Wall runs 150 miles across the north of England. More than one million people visited in 2011/12.


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MA Member
01.04.2014, 12:04
This is one of our great national symbols and should not be subjected to the whims of failed Thatcherite economics. It should receive funding just like the armed forces, just like the NHS even if we make the rich squeak. It does appear however in this case that there was perhaps poor housekeeping on the part of the charity. Since it is a UNESCO world heritage site then it should also get a share of UN funding as well. Most of these sites are increasingly reliant on a constricted supply of tax funds or cast adrift completely. There will also most likely be merging and rationalisation of social enterprises. If the site is made self sufficient and subjected to commercialism then we have lost the point. This is about nationhood and all taxpayers should be forced to pay their share, at gun point if necessary. It is all very well being expected to prepare a strategy and keep house but funding is limited. Perhaps there co-operatives, mutuals and syndicates should be encoureged. Somewhere like Hadrian's Wall should have an army of people preserving it. It can contribute to increasing employment. To not be awed by this wall is shameful. I have not visited it simply for the reason of not having the chance to. But I would aim to visit it at least once in my life.
27.03.2014, 10:04
I am not sure how a place like Hadrian's Wall could rely just on sources which are more available to traditional heritage buildings. I thought that perhaps English Heritage and the Trust should've recognised this in their conversations and that it would've been impossible for this site to run in accordance with other UNESCO heritage sites? As Michael said, Trustee Boards need to be either less ambitious in their plans or be more creative and innovative in their funding sources.
26.03.2014, 16:20
A very sad but hardly surprising turn of events. There are hardly any heritage sites / museums in the UK now that are solely self sufficient that run off their visitor numbers, gift shop and restaurant takings. A lot of museums now rely on massive grants and funding that is no longer accessible. Museum boards and trustee boards need to wake up and realise to remain open they have to look closer to home for funding and put on more event days to draw the public in, not rely on a big fat cheque from the HLF once a year.