The Alan Weston column – delivering growth around Ripon’s heritage

Ripon Morris Men take part in this year's St Wilfrid's Parade.
Ripon Morris Men take part in this year's St Wilfrid's Parade.

Last month I wrote about the city’s heritage and how there were opportunities to build this to help shape the future of the city too. I mentioned that I was working with a small group to explore applying to Historic England’s Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) initiative. Following further discussions, an expression of interest has been submitted by Ripon Together (the Ripon Community Interest Company) to this programme to help the development the city.

The first 10 heritage action zones were announced earlier this year and more are now being sought.

The aim of the programme is to work with local people and partners through joint-working, grant funding and sharing skills to “breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.”

The unique selling point of our expression of interest is that Ripon is working together to deliver growth, as set out in the Ripon City Plan and that protecting and enhancing our heritage is an important part of this strategy.

The outcome of the process will be known later this year and if successful, the proposed Ripon Heritage Action Zone would commence in 2018.

Next year is already set to be very busy and so preparations are already underway.

We are discussing with several individuals and organisations their proposals for commemorating the end of World War I. It is hard to comprehend the size and scale of the Ripon Camp in 1914 – 1918 and the legacy it has had in helping to shape the city over the last century. As a training camp, it accommodated 30,000 troops and saw an estimated 350,000 men pass through during the Great War.

Ripon Civic Society celebrates its 50th Anniversary in October 2018 and from discussions with members of the committee there are plans which are being developed for a series of activities to mark this passing.

The society runs a number of initiatives including the current Ripon Re-Viewed project which, funded by Heritage Lottery Funding, is seeking to digitise and make available on a website, 6,000 photographic negatives of Ripon people and places from between around 1860 and 1960.

I have mentioned previously that Ripon will also be hosting Yorkshire Day in 2018.

This will take place on Wednesday 1 August and as is the tradition Mayors from across the traditional North, East and West Ridings will parade through the city centre for a service in the Cathedral. Whilst this is an important event we also want the community to celebrate Yorkshire Day too.

An important part of Ripon’s heritage is the traditional St Wilfrid’s parade, which next year will take place on Saturday 4 August and so will be in the days immediately following the Yorkshire Day celebrations.

Following the success of this year, I hope that next year’s event can continue to grow and we will continue to support the Committee.

The City Development Team were on the Market Place all day and there seemed more spectators lining the route than in any of the previous years that I’ve attended.

So, 2018 is already set to be a busy year but before that we have the Christmas and New Year celebrations to organise.

However, as it’s still summer I’ll tell you more about the plans for the festive period next month.