PPS 6: Planning, Archaeology and The Built Heritage
The Importance of Industrial Heritage
8.1 There are reminders everywhere of the industrial changes which have influenced the social and economic development of Northern Ireland in recent centuries. Features of this industrial heritage include the remains of small, local enterprises, such as the corn, flax and beetling mills, many still visible as ruins in the countryside, and more significant buildings or complexes, such as the multi-storey cotton and linen mills that characterise parts of our cities, towns and villages. Other manufacturing industries including salt pans, coal, iron and bauxite mines, brickworks, potteries and foundries have also left their own particular mark on the landscape. Some industries were short-lived and have left only slight traces of their previous existence, or have disappeared beneath modern buildings. Some are survived by the streets of terraced houses, built for mill and factory-workers by businesses which are now almost forgotten.
8.2 Much evidence of the historic pattern of roads, railways and canals which developed to carry the raw materials and manufactured goods from previous times can still be seen today in the modern transportation network or as derelict features in the landscape. Similarly some of the historic facilities for generating and distributing electricity, gas and water remain as part of our modern infrastructure.
8.3 Identifying and protecting buildings and other features which reflect the development of our industrial society is part of the Department’s responsibility in caring for the built heritage. Identification surveys and archaeological studies of particular industries and processes require specialist scientific and technical knowledge and work on information about our industrial heritage is at an early stage. Nevertheless many important features of this unique heritage are already subject to existing protection measures, that is, as archaeological sites or monuments or as listed buildings.