Representation in United Kingdom

Two British winners of 2017 EU prize for cultural heritage


Cromford mills

Cromford Mills in Derbyshire and SAMPHIRE – a maritime heritage project in Western Scotland are among the 29 winners of the prestigious European Union prize for cultural heritage/Europa Nostra Awards.


Each winner will receive €10.000 (£8.618) at an awards ceremony that will be held in Turku, Finland on 15 May.

Cromford Mills is a large complex of industrial mills set in the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Arkwright Society, a small voluntary organisation, bought Building 17 of the complex and secured substantial funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the European Regional Development Fund to redevelop this Grade I listed site. It turned it into a gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and a centre for creative industries on the upper floors. The building, the largest of those in the complex, was in a poor state due to lack of maintenance.

SAMPHIRE – Scottish Atlantic Maritime Past: Heritage, Investigation, Research & Education – investigated how community engagement in West Scottish coastal communities could increase understanding of archaeological sites off the Scottish coast. The team's unique approach has fostered dialogue between professional maritime archaeologists and local community members including divers, fishermen, historians and others with knowledge of the seafloor in their area. In the period since the project began three years ago, over 100 new sites have been revealed and recorded.

Everyone can now vote online for the Public Choice Award and rally support for the winning project(s) from their own or another European country. During the awards ceremony, the Public Choice Award winner will be announced.

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said: "I congratulate all the winners. Their achievements demonstrate once again how engaged many Europeans are in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage. Their projects highlight the significant role of cultural heritage in our lives and our society. Especially today, with Europe facing many big societal challenges, culture is vital in helping us to raise awareness of our common history and values and to foster tolerance, mutual understanding and social inclusion.”

Launched in 2002, the awards celebrate and promote best practices in heritage conservation, research, management, the work of volunteers, education and communication. It is supported by the Creative Europe programme.

The work of UK institutions and individuals in preserving and restoring cultural heritage has been recognised by the awards many times in the past fourteen years. Previous winners include: the conservation of Abbotsford, the historic country house and former residence of the historical novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott, and the restoration of Strawberry Hill and King's Cross station.

Applications for the 2018 edition of the awards can be submitted from 15 May to 1 October 2017 through the dedicated website.

Last year's UK winners

More information