The Shildon Heritage Alliance CIC is a volunteer driven Community Interest Company based in Shildon, County Durham which comprises people with experience and skills from a wide range of business disciplines, coming together to find ways to use those qualities to find ways to preserve, promote and enhance selected aspects of the heritage of Shildon. We specifically champion aspects of heritage that are not covered by the other organisations. Our current principal project focus with our community are: a) To champion, develop a future vision for and preserve Shildon Railway Institute, the world’s first such institution founded in connection to the rail industry having been initiated in 1833. The vision to have a strong heritage focus whilst providing essential facilities for community wellbeing. b) To curate, preserve and make available our archive collection and research relating to the work of George Allan and Thomas Bulch, Shildon born brass composers that had international influence, c) To capture, make available and promote digitised first hand accounts of our industrial heritage and culture through filmmaking, story telling, documents and oral history. d) To organise and promote events that communicate and celebrate Shildon’s heritage.
Current Board of Directors
The current directorship of the Shildon Heritage Alliance CIC is as follows:
Our Contact Details
We can be contacted via the following means:
Telephone: 07967 202583
Post: 8 Wordsell Way, Shildon, County Durham, DL4 9GU
Frequently Asked Questions…
Q: Why concentrate on heritage, and the past, shouldn’t we be looking to the future?
A: Sometimes the key to the future has much to do with the past. There’s no doubting that Shildon has been down on its fortunes since the 1980s when the railway works closed, but as long as Shildon exploits its roots as the first railway town in the world it will hopefully continue to remain connected to the national rail network which opens up further possibilities. It’s no coincidence that the new Hitachi plant, for example, was built only a stone’s throw away. The past holds keys to unlock many futures for our young people.
Q: Why you? What makes you the right people to champion aspects of Shildon heritage?
There are a number of other excellent specific heritage interest groups in the area; the Brusselton Incline Group, the Shildon Recall History Society to name but two. We’re not the only ones championing what the town has to offer in terms of peeps into the past. This group has come together to look at other aspects of our heritage that might otherwise be neglected. We can’t solve it all, but we’re willing to try to fill some of the spaces where these matters aren’t currently being addressed. The only thing that makes us what we are is that we have spent years hearing our friends, family and neighbours telling us that “someone should have done something”, often after it is too late; for example as a building is demolished or stands dilapidated. We have decided collectively to try to be a “someone” for assets of our community where it’s not too late.
Q: You’re a company then. That means you all get paid, right?
Not so, in fact quite the opposite at times. All the members of the Shildon Heritage Alliance CIC appreciate that if we start to take money from this enterprise we aren’t going to get far. One of our key objectives is for the organisation to make money from events that can then be invested back into helping the causes we have opted to adopt. Every event we organise is with a view to making a profit that can be used to invest in an asset, help generate business for them or cover the costs of larger-scale fundraising. Though we’re not wealthy philanthropists, each member of the CIC will make an investment of time without pay, and any will contribute within reason to the sundry costs of events, organisation and promotion.
Q: What have you done so far?
Well, the organisation was born through the formation of the Save Our Stute campaign, which commenced in May 2019 to help the Committee of the Shildon Railway Institute after reports that the ‘Stute’ was likely to close towards the end of the year. The group figured that the business side of the Institute could be turned around, particularly if aided, and that rather than fall derelict a case could be made for the restoration of the building for a future generation. It’s a huge job and we’re planning the project over a 5 year period, but already we’ve given the ‘Stute’ a stronger online presence with a website, and better social coverage, and made them a little easier to do business with as well as organising a programme of events to generate more new business. Between the S.H.A. and the Committee we’re starting to see a brighter picture gradually emerge, though we have a long way to go yet.
Utilities (For SHA Team Use)