Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport was guest of honour at a heritage award ceremony at The Historic Dockyard Chatham yesterday, Tuesday 29th November 2005.
The ceremony celebrated the winning of a medal at The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards which recognises Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust's achievements during the re-development of The Historic Dockyard over the last 20 years.
The medal, within the Cultural Landscapes Category, was awarded for "a programme of conservation undertaken to the highest professional standards, whilst retaining the atmosphere of a working dockyard site which successfully blends new income-generating activities with a display of historic artefacts", according to the Europa Nostra citation.
The European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards were launched to promote high quality and standards of skills of conservation practice and to encourage trans-frontier exchange of knowledge via "the power of example". The Historic Dockyard's entry was based on the Trust's 20th anniversary and the completion of the £18 million capital programme which saw several very large scale projects completed, including The Ropery complex, The Museum of the Royal Dockyard, Number 7 Covered Slip and HMS Gannet completing the Dockyard skyline.
Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport said, "Chatham has achieved a real coup in combining a successful conservation programme with new income-generating activities. It provides us with a blueprint for other conservation initiatives, and fully deserves the international recognition of this prize. Due to the Trust's efforts, Chatham Historic Dockyard will be here tomorrow - not just as an interesting footnote in our history, but as a living and working community."
John Sell CBE, Vice-President of Europa Nostra presented the award to Admiral Sir Ian Garnett, Chairman of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. He said, "The UK is highly regarded all over Europe as a leader in the protection of cultural heritage, and the exemplary regeneration of Chatham Historic Dockyard confirms this yet again. Assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund will help ensure the sustainability of the project in the long term. This scheme serves as an extremely valuable tool, not only for funding conservation initiatives but also for raising awareness on the values of heritage and its multiple benefits for society, and deserves to be emulated throughout Europe and beyond".
Bill Ferris, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust said, "This award truly is recognition of 20 years of vision and hard work by The Trust and its many partners, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Medway Council, SEEDA, European funders plus all the many contractors who have been involved over these past years. It is remarkable and demonstrates the real commitment to meeting the charitable objectives of the Trust. Every one of our small team here works hard to maintain the highest standards - this award relates to the built environment but our success in tourism, regeneration, museum and other awards demonstrates a commitment to quality and purpose rarely found - we are extremely proud to have achieved such international success."
BDP's commission was spread over a six year development programme and involved masterplanning and the conservation and creative adaptative reuse of 30 key scheduled Ancient Monuments. Architect Director Tim Leach, who heads up BDP's Historic Buildings Group in the London office commented "The development programme exemplifies conservation-led regeneration, accommodating new and viable uses within the dockyard generally and within many of its Scheduled Ancient Monuments, without compromising historic integrity."
BDP was appointed as architect, structural engineer, building services engineer and landscape architect.