This paper will compare attitudes towards industrial heritage in various parts of Europe, and the degree of volunteer involvement in different countries.
For example, in a few states, the conservation of the industrial heritage relies heavily on groups of enthusiasts, who give many hours of their time. This is particularly true in the United Kingdom, where projects to restore and maintain such sites as wind and watermills, and the heritage of the water supply industry, would be unlikely to succeed without volunteers who devote both time and expertise to this task. Similar groups can also be found in other parts of Europe, for instance in Flanders and Denmark.
Another way in which Civil Society helps to protect the industrial heritage is through the support of individual communities. In Sweden, for example, many sites in rural areas are cared for by the local people. This can take the form of renovation and preservation work, with subsequent presentation to visitors, or if a site cannot remain in its original use, in assisting in its adaption to enable the building at least to survive.
Attitudes to industrial heritage vary across Europe, with, until recently, less interest in its preservation in central and eastern states. This view is now shifting, and projects are commencing to save what is left of this important legacy of the past, although these tend to be less volunteer based, with, instead the lead coming from government agencies and museums – the reasons for this will be examined.
This presentation will be celebrating the work of the dedicated volunteers engaged in “giving the industrial past a future”.