The Heritage Crafts Association and the Sussex Heritage Trust award four new grants to help save endangered crafts from extinction

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A brick and tile maker, two flint wallers and a trug maker have been awarded grants to help safeguard some of Sussex’s most endangered craft skills.

The Heritage Crafts Association (HCA) and the Sussex Heritage Trust (SHT) have awarded the grants through the HCA’s Endangered Crafts Fund, which was launched in 2019 to increase the likelihood of endangered crafts surviving into the next generation. The Sussex Heritage Trust received funding from the Ian M Foulerton Trust, alongside other donations, to fund the Sussex-based grants.

In 2019 the HCA published the second edition of its groundbreaking HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank the UK’s traditional crafts by the likelihood that they will survive into the next generation. The report assessed 212 crafts to ascertain those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, of which four were classified as extinct, 71 as ‘endangered’ and a further 36 as ‘critically endangered’.

The four successful Sussex recipients are:

  • Duncan Berry, from Chichester, to buy tools to enable him to pass on his skills as a flint waller.
  • Ben Bosence, from Lewes, to develop and make bricks and tiles from waste clay that has been excavated locally.
  • Bob Green, from Brighton, to buy tools to enable him to develop and pass on his skills as a flint waller.
  • Dominic Parrette, from Horam, to build shave horses to allow him to teach trainees how to make Sussex trug and Devon stave baskets.

These four projects join five more awarded nationally, and follow 18 awarded in previous rounds, covering endangered crafts such as skeined willow chair seating, lipwork straw basketry, commercial handmade paper making concertina making flute making.

Mary Lewis, HCA Endangered Crafts Officer, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic our craft skills are at more risk than ever before. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Sussex Heritage Trust to address the specific challenges of COVID-19 to endangered skills and knowledge in Sussex, a region renowned for its craftsmanship and material heritage.”

Simon Knight DL, Chairman of the Sussex Heritage Trust, said: “Excellent architecture and design, traditional building skills and craftmanship are an important part of the rich heritage of Sussex. This partnership with the Heritage Crafts Association addresses the particular challenges of these crafts and facilitate the transfer of endangered crafts, building skills and knowledge to the next generation.”

The UK-wide Endangered Crafts Fund is supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Dulverton Trust, Allchurches Trust, the Radcliffe Trust, the Swire Charitable Trust and individual donors. For more information about the Fund, email HCA Endangered Crafts Officer Mary Lewis at mary@heritagecrafts.org.uk or SHT General Manager, Helen Reeve at helen.reeve@sussexheritagetrust.org.uk.

Image credit: A challenging piece of knapping on an old Goodwood Estate Cottage. Photo copyright Duncan Berry.

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