John Craven and Jules Hudson champion British crafts. In the Lake District they discover a community group refusing to let their spirit die after the closure of their local shop.
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We're travelling across the UK on a mission.
All over the country, our heritage is at risk.
Ancient buildings and monuments are under threat of demolition.
Valuable arts and crafts are on the brink of extinction.
And our rich industrial heritage is disappearing fast.
We're scouring town and country,
in search of the nation's unsung heroes
determined not to let our heritage become a thing of the past.
Today, we look behind the scenes of a £9 million restoration project
that's opening up a Cumbrian estate
for the first time in 70 years.
What a view to work with. Fantastic, isn't it?
And meet a group who've campaigned tirelessly
to save a viaduct from demolition.
On this journey, we're uncovering the hidden treasures of our country,
treasures that are certainly worth fighting for.
And meeting heritage heroes saving Britain at risk.
Here we are at Hartside,
one of the highest points in the Pennines.
Well, I've had better starts to the day, John. I have to say!
Look at this!
"The view in front of you is one of the most spectacular in England."
Over there is the Lake District.
Over there is the Solway Firth.
Beautiful(!) Shall we get out of this gloom?
Hopefully, we might see SOMETHING today.
Yeah, it might clear as we get down to the foothills. Let's hope so.
Ever the optimist.
Our journey started in Northumberland, near Hadrian's Wall.
Today, we're heading south into Cumbria and the Lakes.
We're then venturing across the Pennines into Yorkshire,
and ending our trail in the stunning county of Derbyshire.
Cumbria can claim to have
some of the most breathtaking scenery in England.
The county has a rich agricultural landscape
that runs alongside the dramatic hills of the Lake District.
We're getting off the well-beaten tourist trail
to meet the people working hard to preserve its heritage.
Well, it's brightening up, John, down here.
It is, and our first stop is a little village called Bolton.
Close by the A66.
We're not just looking, on our journey,
at buildings at risk. We're looking at the whole social network
in the country that might be at risk.
Things like village shops, post offices, and pubs, and things,
are DANGEROUSLY at risk, these days.
I've certainly seen it first-hand where I live.
These things are under growing commercial pressures
from the bigger supermarkets.
Due to cutbacks in recent years, over 2,500 post offices have closed,
along with hundreds of pubs.
Some communities aren't taking these closures lying down.
After the demise of the shop and post office in Bolton,
the locals have found another focal point for local life.
We join them as they celebrate
three successful years of weekly gatherings in their village hall.
-Look at this!
-It's a party!
Hello! Who are you?
Hope we're allowed inside!
Well, what a turnout!
-How are things going?
Nice to see you. Look at this!
'They call this the Exchange.
'It gives locals a place to get together
'and sell home-made crafts and products.'
Are all these from different people's back gardens?
-That's right. Jacob and Freddie have grown the cucumbers.
40 pence to £1.
-That one's 50p.
-Right, I'll have that.
Some greens, as well. I like fresh peas.
-OK, Jacob, there you are.
-Thank you very much indeed.
Now, THAT looks like just the ticket.
-Hello, how are you?
-How are YOU?
-What kind of cheese is it?
That one is Lincolnshire Poacher.
And is this Stilton?
No, that's our own blend, called Withnail Blue.
I've got to have Withnail Blue.
I'm a huge fan of Withnail & I. So I've got to have that.
We farm just across from Sleddale Hall,
which was Uncle Monty's summer house.
Really? So, we're in film nostalgia territory, aren't we?
I'll have a piece of that, and, yes, Withnail Blue.
Not only can you buy fantastic local produce here at the Exchange,
you can also have a cup of tea,
-and a cake, and a bit of a chat, can't you?
What difference has it made, the Exchange, to the village?
I think it's made a lot of difference.
Before, although for some of the elderly people,
losing the post office was a bit of a disaster to begin with,
because where did they cash their pension?
If you go down to the village shop, or the post office,
-you might meet one person. But here, you meet...
And you can spend the whole afternoon seeing your friends.
And it has REALLY brought the village together.
Right, I'll have a cup of tea, please.
-What would you like in the way of cake?
-A cream cake, please.
With a strawberry on top.
-It's a raspberry, actually.
-Oh, it's a raspberry. So it is.
Oh, lovely. Thank you very much.
There's one problem. Trying to find somewhere to sit!
Ooh, lovely. I'm not supposed to eat cream.
So don't tell my wife, will you?
Derek Cotter is the man who rallied the community troops
to get THIS Exchange off the ground.
It's pretty warm in there this morning, Derek, isn't it?
There's a tremendous atmosphere in there.
Isn't it just? Absolutely buzzing.
That must be a huge source of pleasure for you,
to see this, on its third anniversary, so excited?
It's a tremendous satisfaction.
Although I helped found the idea, it's down to the community itself,
in that we have 25 or so volunteers
that turn out very frequently for it.
What happened to give you the idea
to take up this challenge of creating an exchange here in Bolton?
We're approaching the building itself.
-This is where the shop and the post office used to be.
-THIS is it?
-The black postbox.
That's simply done to avoid anybody inadvertently posting letters.
It's also bolted off.
As far as the community were concerned,
this was really the social hub of the village.
But is your success here catching on in other villages in the area?
Yes, we managed to sell this idea to Culgaith,
which is just across the A66,
and they open once a week, the same as us.
I suppose the question I'm dying to ask you is,
would you go back to having your post office
in exchange for the Exchange? Would you swap one for the other?
I don't think we'd want to go back to being without the Exchange.
Clearly, we'd like the shop, we'd like the post office.
This is really something the community REALLY benefits from,
and the sort of thing I'd want every community to have,
if they could manage it.
It's a simple idea that we can ALL take on,
to breathe new life into our own communities.
We're back on the road, in Cumbria,
exploring the history of the rolling countryside.
We have, as you know, this peculiar fascination
-with our industrial past.
One of the things that always catches my eye, wherever I am in the country,
are the great viaducts that once linked the railway system,
and the aqueducts that linked the canal system together.
They ARE quite spectacular, aren't they?
How on earth did they do that? All those years ago, you know.
Ancient technology. It's a Roman technology.
You wonder about engine drivers on the first crossing.
Hoping it had all been done properly.
Viaducts have been built since the late 1800s
to connect industrial Britain.
Smardale Gill viaduct was constructed in 1861
to carry coke and coal on the first trans-Pennines railway.
It ran for 100 years, closing in 1962.
Left to rot, it was threatened with demolition in the 1980s.
A community group challenged British Rail's plans.
Martin Holdgate is one of the locals
who set up a trust that saved the viaduct.
I care very much about this place.
It's a superb bit of railway heritage.
14 arches, 90 feet high.
Beautifully shaped, very graceful structure.
I've known it, and it's been part of my memory, all my life, almost.
I would be very sad if it wasn't here for future people to enjoy.
First thing that's got to be done is,
the track way itself has got to be waterproofed.
There are people already beginning to work on it,
because we want to get that done this year,
using our own resources.
We have limited funds but think we've got enough for this.
Because, if we can waterproof the track way,
and stop the water percolating into the fabric,
we, as it were, turn the tap of damage off.
The viaduct sits 90 feet above a deep ravine,
and is at constant risk from the elements.
The added complication is that it's surrounded by a nature reserve.
Andrew Walter of Cumbria's Wildlife Trust
is advising them on how to protect the site.
It's particularly important for all the life in the river,
especially the crayfish,
that there's no pollution, siltation, or anything brought in,
especially for this fella.
White-clawed crayfish are just one of the species found here,
so any work undertaken on the viaduct
has to be done with real care.
Generally, there will again be fear for the stability of the structure,
if we don't do something about it.
That's why I'm passionate about getting the money,
and getting it refurbished,
and making sure it's even sounder for the next 50 years
than it has been since the railway closed in 1962.
Winding our way south through Cumbria,
we're now heading to a restoration project
on the edge of the northern Lake District.
Today, John, it's interesting criss-crossing the country,
as we do,
the amount of AONBs, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
and of course national parks,
that were put together by people with some extraordinary foresight.
It all happened while the Second World War was raging.
There were people in Whitehall, and other places,
thinking about the future.
What would it be like after the war was over?
"We want a home fit for heroes."
It's not just the agriculture that defines the Pennines.
Its great stately homes and castles
-also give it a real flavour, don't they?
A lot of those castles just fell into disrepair eventually.
But, actually, where we are,
not far from Penrith, is Lowther Castle.
I think they are doing something quite interesting.
They're not just trying to restore it all to its former glory.
The idea is to capture it as is, warts and all.
Lowther Castle has been home to the Lowther family
since the reign of Edward I
The castle and gardens are just part of their estate
that still dominates Cumbria.
Much of it is still in use,
but after the death of the fifth Earl of Lonsdale,
the castle lay uninhabited.
To save it from complete dereliction,
a charitable trust stepped in.
An injection of £9 million
is helping restore this impressive site,
opening it up to the public for the first time in 70 years.
Andrew Mercer is the man overseeing the project.
Well, Andrew, this is quite something, isn't it?
There's a little bit to do!
We've been at it now for a couple of months.
There's a huge amount of restoration and conversion to do.
In terms of the main castle itself, are you going to tackle that?
Will you put a roof on it, or keep it as a ruin?
It's a ruin. That's what it is.
It sits lovely, grandly, and very elegantly in the landscape.
It has a real presence. We don't need a roof to be put back on it.
We're keen to see it as a proper, well-consolidated ruin
that will be a great landmark in this wonderful countryside.
There's lots of clever people.
There's the lead workers, the roofers, the stonemasons.
There's a whole army of craftsmen.
Today we've had seven or eight apprentices working here,
learning these new traditional skills.
I think, as an apprentice, to have the opportunity to learn your skills
on such a great building as this must be great fun, a great joy.
One of the first jobs
for the stonemasons is making safe
the existing stonework.
As you can see behind me, hundreds of tonnes of work stone
have been taken off this building,
carefully cleaned, and then restored.
Now comes the task of putting the whole thing back together.
THIS is what's known in the trade as a "merlon".
It's one of the little square pieces that turn this
from a straightforward country house into a crenellated castle.
And this is going up there.
All right, Steve!
I think I've lost count of the number of ladders!
Hey, look, there's the block!
Is Stanley up here, as well?
Stanley? He is.
-Hello, mate, nice to see you. How are you?
-So, there's our merlon?
Isn't it gorgeous? What a view you fellas have to work with!
Is that the old mason's mark on the end?
That IS the mason's mark, yes.
-There's a terrific heritage to these things.
'Restoration on this scale takes real skill.
'Each merlon has to be removed and cleaned.
'Limestone mortar then secures it
'to where it originally sat over 200 years ago.'
Well done, Stanley. So, that's it, then?
-The 20th one done.
How many more to go?
The plans for the grounds are as impressive.
In its heyday, Lowther had one of the grandest gardens in England.
Now, acres of parks, woodlands, pond and walkways
are waiting to be rediscovered.
Landscape designer Dominic Cole
has the task of reviving this 17th-century garden
for everyone to enjoy.
This is the central core of the garden. We're restoring most of it.
What's all this going to be? Lawns?
These will be different types of lawns.
Some will be formal. Some we want to have as wild flowers,
so we'll use wild flowers from the local area.
We'll work with the ecologist to do that.
This is a memory of the bowling green. Very formal.
Then, a bulb lawn. So you have something for all seasons.
We're taking that formal structure of the paths
and using that as the basis onto which we'll overlay
our garden from this generation.
So, you're not actually rebuilding the place,
you're giving a flavour of what it was like?
That's right. Because there's so much going on here,
and we can look at another period, one of the summerhouses.
What's exciting is we're walking through
from one period to another.
What we're coming up to now is a much later period,
the Victorian period.
What is THIS?
This is one of the Victorian summerhouses.
It has this most wonderful character.
It's almost Hansel & Gretel.
You've got the gingerbread house.
It has its original decoration. It's exciting to find it.
There were 24 of these throughout the gardens.
There's just a couple left.
-Will you be using it again?
-Very much so.
We're assuming the planting is holding it together.
You can see the two ivies on either side,
which are now very much entangled with the decoration.
So, we think this won't need a lot more than a haircut.
We're certainly not going to attempt to strip the ivy off it.
-This old place is idyllic, isn't it?
It WOULD be, if it wasn't for the noise your men are making.
I apologise for the noise. We're doing some tree work.
More clearance, to open up new views.
Next will be this fantastic vista,
down the pond from the summerhouse.
'With more than a hundred acres to play with,
'Dominic and his crew
'have certainly got their work cut out.'
Jules, you've been at the big house.
Let me show you the view from a little house.
Look at that. Isn't it sweet?
A diamond jubilee summerhouse for the Lonsdale family.
But look at the view that it has.
-Perfectly sited, isn't it?
-Isn't that fantastic?
This view was really just the view of the Lonsdale family
and their visitors.
But now, we can all have a look at it.
We've all got a chance. It's wonderful, isn't it?
What I like is they're doing a very inclusive project.
The house has its issues,
but I love the fact they're going for this romantic ruin.
They're also opening up the stable block,
to make that a real venue for visitors,
and 130 acres of gardens we can all now explore.
A place that was very much at risk has now been saved.
From what you've seen, do you think money well spent?
-I do, indeed.
-I agree with you.
They're our Heritage Heroes here, aren't they?
It's fantastic to see part of Cumbria's rich heritage
being opened up for all.
And there are more hidden gems to be discovered on our journey.
Keep right on to the end of the road.
# Keep right on to the end
# Though the way be...#
Or something like that.
-Something like that.
'Oh, the joys of car sharing with Mr Craven!
'On our heritage trail, we're discovering
'food, arts and crafts fighting for survival.
'In Cumbria a campaign has taken hold
'to promote a great British delicacy.
Winston Churchill insisted on Seville oranges
being imported to Britain during the war.
He claimed marmalade was vital for morale.
It's since declined in popularity.
But, one woman who's lucky enough
to call the historic house of Dalemain her home,
is declaring she'll defend it forever.
I made marmalade with my mother, and it was all good fun.
When I got married, I came to live at Dalemain.
It's a house open to the public.
It has this enormous archive,
and nobody has ever really delved into it, until recently,
when we had an archivist who found all sorts of things, and treasures,
including this huge archive of marmalade recipes.
In the archive at Dalemain,
we discovered this wonderful, ancient recipe book.
It was created and pulled together about the end of the 1600s.
So it's a very ancient book.
But it is stuffed full of wonderful marmalade recipes,
which we can now use.
The idea is,
we're using ancient recipes, and perpetuating them for the future,
and it's truly exciting.
Already it's going liquid.
And it can just boil for a little bit longer.
And then it will be ready to pot,
which will be delicious.
Ladled with history, Jane Hasell-McCosh
decided to bring marmalade into the 21st century.
Five years ago, she launched the World Marmalade Awards.
It draws support and entries from around the world.
I think the most important thing
is our artisan producer's competition.
That's all about the small producers who are making marmalade
with the open pan method,
and using recipes often belonging to their granny, or their great-granny.
But, they are perpetuating what they learned,
and then producing it on a commercial scale.
Now, that commercial scale may be tiny amounts
sold in the village post office, or the local shop.
But they are producing the marmalade of today,
and that, to me, is the lifeline to marmalade production of the future.
THIS is what you can't beat.
A nice cup of tea, with a view like this.
Isn't it gorgeous?
As WB Yeats said about another lake, "Peace comes dropping slowly here".
Oh, John. I'm going to cry now.
Our final stop on our journey through Cumbria is Brougham,
just south of Penrith.
We've already had a nice look at Lowther,
which was a pretty ambitious endeavour.
£9 million going into that one.
How about another grand house that...?
Has it got a roof on?
-It HAS got a roof on it.
But they haven't got that sort of money to spend.
This is very much a homespun operation, at Brougham.
It's been saved from the teeth of a housing development.
They've compromised slightly,
on how they've allowed the housing to happen around it.
They've given some land for housing
on the understanding they can keep the hall itself.
Ah, Brougham Hall!
-Look at that.
-That IS a castle, to me.
-That IS a castle.
Let's go and find out the story.
-They must have been small in those days.
-You can say that again.
Look at this place! Wonderful!
-'Hello. Please help us in our private endeavour
'to restore this 14th-century fortified house.'
It's the voice of the Almighty!
-We're being watched!
-And they're wanting money.
-I think they are.
Dig deep, John. Go on!
Hey, look at this!
"On the 15th October 1905,
"Edward VII set off
"through this arch to Raby Castle
"in the first motorcade
"in the north of England
"by a British monarch."
Winston Churchill was here, as well. In 1942.
This is quite something, isn't it?
Very different feel from the outside.
-No big house, or anything.
'Brougham Hall has an incredible history.
'Royalty, Lords and commanders of war
'have all taken sanctuary
'within these walls.
'But in the 1980s, it was to be pulled down
'to give way to a new development.'
There are the new houses, then.
That's obviously part of the deal that meant the rest of this
wasn't covered in houses, either.
But, if it wasn't for one individual with some serious foresight,
-this would have been completely lost.
'It's incredible to think it was down to one man
'that this hall was saved.
'Christopher Terry visited Brougham in his early 20s.
'When he heard it was to be demolished,
'he made it his mission to save it.
'He took over the development of the site,
'and was able to rescue the Hall
'by building residential houses in the grounds.
'It's now open to the public
'and the converted stables are home to local businesses.
'Their rent, along with some charitable funding,
'is allowing Christopher to restore the rest of the site.'
At the beginning,
friends of mine said I'd got the Nobel Prize for Lunacy.
But, we've done enough of it now
to have proved that we CAN do it.
This is where we started, in January 1986.
We rebuilt this south wall,
and we took on 22 youngsters, who'd never had a job.
-And they made a very credible job.
-They certainly have.
It looks very impressive, doesn't it?
And then we worked our way the whole way round,
and we've got as far as the tearoom, there.
We've done over half, in area.
And, we are viable.
We can pay our bills.
'Christopher is also committed
'to re-housing the mass of historical documents
'that are currently under wraps in this store room.'
What have you got HERE, Christopher?
This looks very impressive.
This is the visitors' book, from 1888 onwards.
I should tell you the Royal Family used Brougham as the halfway house
between Windsor and Balmoral,
from 1857 to 1905.
For example, here we have the future King George V
coming as Prince George, in 1892.
There's Albert Edward, later King Edward VII,
and, sending a telegram from Balmoral
to say thanks very much for having me.
This is just a very small section of the amazing archive here.
What would have happened to it if you hadn't stepped in?
I think, if we hadn't come along when we did,
both Brougham Hall, and the history attaching to Brougham Hall,
would have been smashed off the face of the earth.
Getting this history on display
will help secure Brougham Hall's future
and put it back on the map as an important historic site.
What I love about this place is, there's clearly a lot more to it
than just the restoration and conservation of the building itself.
It's also become a real haven for many local artisan industries.
There's a wedding planner here, an IT consultant,
even a country furnishing store.
All of them have a direct contribution to make
in keeping this place an ongoing success.
Piers Merry was one of the teenagers
who helped rebuild the hall.
The work inspired him to take up stonemasonry.
He's dedicated his life to learning these heritage skills.
His work is now acclaimed around the world.
I've found you! What a place to work!
This is a stonemason's dream, isn't it?
A vaulted ceiling...
There's not many people who have a vaulted ceiling in their workshop.
-Nice to see you. How's things?
I gather you started out here 15-odd years ago,
when they were beginning to restore the castle walls, and so forth?
Yeah. It was my first job.
It was the most fun job I could find when I was at school.
I used to come here, and dig out, and excavate.
Find the good stone, separate the bad stone.
They had face workers and stonemasons working here.
We came in and got as much ready for them as we could.
One thing that strikes me about Brougham is this hotbed
of local businesses that have come into it,
which not only keep it going, but have a direct investment,
a real passion for its survival.
And you're one of those people.
Would you ever want to work anywhere else,
-or is Brougham where you want to be?
-No, no. I want to be here.
It's wonderful. Look at it. Look at the office!
Yeah! Look at the office. This is a nice place to be.
Brougham Hall certainly looks to have a future
as rich as its past.
This has been a great day travelling across Cumbria.
Lowther Castle is spectacular,
and it's great news that it's being preserved for future generations.
And the buzz of the Exchange in Bolton is fantastic.
The locals have created a whole new centre
where community spirit can thrive.
Next time, we're in the Yorkshire Dales
to see how local funding is helping a community to help itself.
And we explore the industrial heart of the Pennines,
as we visit a textile mill
whose creative future is reaching new heights.
How about that?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
John Craven and Jules Hudson champion British crafts. In the Lake District they discover a community group refusing to let their spirit die after the closure of their local shop and post office, and the massive restoration work taking place on the impressive Lowther estate.