Hartlepool among the top on UK’s heritage index

Hartlepool Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of maritime paintings by local artist, the late Frank Henry Mason. Museum worker Jean Hogg makes sure everything is ship-shape.
Hartlepool Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition of maritime paintings by local artist, the late Frank Henry Mason. Museum worker Jean Hogg makes sure everything is ship-shape.

Researchers say that Hartlepool is in the top half of the table for cities and towns in England with heritage.

According to a heritage index which has been created by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), the town is in the top 37% of locations in the country for interesting features in relation to its size.

Hartlepool’s heritage is one of its greatest assets and the council and its partner organisations are absolutely committed to preserving and protecting that and making the best use of it to develop the town economically, culturally and socially as part of the Hartlepool Vision.

Damien Wilson, Hartlepool Council’s assistant director for regeneration

Hartlepool scored poorly for its historic built environment, finding itself in the bottom 21%, but it is in the top 16% for museums, archives and artefacts, the top 12% for industrial heritage and the top 48% for parks and space.

The town is also in the top 19% for landscape and natural heritage but in the bottom 17% for culture and memories.

Using over 100 data sets, the index took a range of features into account, including nature reserves, heritage open days, archaeological groups, blue plaques and designated local foods.

In response, Damien Wilson, Hartlepool Council’s assistant director for regeneration, said: “Hartlepool’s heritage is one of its greatest assets and the council and its partner organisations are absolutely committed to preserving and protecting that and making the best use of it to develop the town economically, culturally and socially as part of the Hartlepool Vision.”

The RSA said the list did not aim to embarrass towns such as Warrington, in Lancashire, which finished bottom, but to demonstrate that by taking advantage of their assets they could boost their cultural capital.

The area most abundant in cultural assets was the capital London, which has been enhanced by the Barbican arts centre as well as 201 English Heritage blue plaques.