Some of the UK’s treasured heritage could be “lost forever” after the novel coronavirus pandemic, as centuries-old skills required to safeguard them risk wipeout if craftsmen lose their jobs, an official has warned.
According to a survey carried out by Historic England, a non-departmental public body tasked with protecting the historic environment, almost 80 per cent of heritage groups have reported short-term losses and around 60 per cent said they have been forced to cancel events due to the pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We know that coronavirus has hit everyone hard, including the heritage sector, and that there are many individuals and organisations that are really struggling for survival at the moment,” Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said on Sunday.
“The safeguarding of their livelihoods will also determine the survival of our most precious heritage.”
If these skilled specialists go out of business during the outbreak, the hard truth is that some of the UK’s heritage “will be lost forever”, Wilson warned.
The organisation, which preserves the country’s natural environment, has launched an emergency fund to help smaller heritage organisations survive the economic toll of the pandemic.
The sector employs 100,000 construction workers, including specialised craftspeople, 6,000 archaeologists, and 24,000 architects, engineers and quantity surveyors, and pumps about 7 billion pounds ($8.76 billion) into the economy, according to the public body.
The UK has several world-renowned heritage sites, including the Giant’s Causeway, Stonehenge and London Blue plaques.