TICCIH is the world organisation representing industrial heritage
and is special adviser to ICOMOS on industrial heritage. This charter was
originated by TICCIH and will be presented to ICOMOS for ratification and for
eventual approval by UNESCO.
The earliest periods of human history are defined by the archaeological
evidence for fundamental changes in the ways in which people made objects, and
the importance of conserving and studying the evidence of these changes is
From the Middle Ages, innovations in Europe in the use of energy and in trade
and commerce led to a change towards the end of the 18 th century just as
profound as that between the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, with developments in the
social, technical and economic circumstances of manufacturing sufficiently rapid
and profound to be called a revolution. The Industrial Revolution was the
beginning of a historical phenomenon that has affected an ever-greater part of
the human population, as well as all the other forms of life on our planet, and
that continues to the present day.
The material evidence of these profound changes is of universal human value,
and the importance of the study and conservation of this evidence must be
The delegates assembled for the 2003 TICCIH Congress in Russia wish therefore
to assert that the buildings and structures built for industrial activities, the
processes and tools used within them and the towns and landscapes in which they
are located, along with all their other tangible and intangible manifestations,
are of fundamental importance. They should be studied, their history should be
taught, their meaning and significance should be probed and made clear for
everyone, and the most significant and characteristic examples should be
identified, protected and maintained, in accordance with the spirit of the
Venice Charter , for the use and benefit of today and of the
1. Definition of industrial heritage
Industrial heritage consists of the remains of
industrial culture which are of historical, technological, social, architectural
or scientific value. These remains consist of buildings and machinery,
workshops, mills and factories, mines and sites for processing and refining,
warehouses and stores, places where energy is generated, transmitted and used,
transport and all its infrastructure, as well as places used for social
activities related to industry such as housing, religious worship or education.
I ndustrial archaeology is an interdisciplinary
method of studying all the evidence, material and immaterial, of documents,
artefacts, stratigraphy and structures, human settlements and natural and urban
landscapes , created for or by industrial processes. It
makes use of those methods of investigation that are most suitable to increase
understanding of the industrial past and present.
The historical period of principal interest extends
forward from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of
the eighteenth century up to and including the present day, while also examining
its earlier pre-industrial and proto-industrial roots. In addition it draws on
the study of work and working techniques encompassed by the history of
2. Values of industrial heritage
I. The industrial heritage is the evidence of activities which had and
continue to have profound historical consequences. The motives for protecting
the industrial heritage are based on the universal value of this evidence,
rather than on the singularity of unique sites.
II. The industrial heritage is of social value as part of the record of the
lives of ordinary men and women, and as such it provides an important sense of
identity. It is of technological and scientific value in the history of
manufacturing, engineering, construction, and it may have considerable
aesthetic value for the quality of its architecture, design or planning.
III. These values are intrinsic to the site itself, its fabric, components,
machinery and setting, in the industrial landscape, in written documentation,
and also in the intangible records of industry contained in human memories and
IV. Rarity, in terms of the survival of particular processes, site typologies
or landscapes, adds particular value and should be carefully assessed. Early or
pioneering examples are of especial value.
3. The importance of identification, recording and research
I. Every territory should identify, record and protect the industrial remains
that it wants to preserve for future generations.
II. Surveys of areas and of different industrial typologies should identify
the extent of the industrial heritage. Using this information, inventories
should be created of all the sites that have been identified. They should be
devised to be easily searchable and should be freely accessible to the public.
Computerisation and on-line access are valuable objectives.
III. Recording is a fundamental part of the study of industrial heritage. A
full record of the physical features and condition of a site should be made and
placed in a public archive before any interventions are made. Much information
can be gained if recording is carried out before a process or site has ceased
operation. Records should include descriptions, drawings, photographs and video
film of moving objects, with references to supporting documentation. Peoples'
memories are a unique and irreplaceable resource which should also be recorded
when they are available.
IV. Archaeological investigation of historic industrial sites is a
fundamental technique for their study. It should be carried out to the same high
standards as that of sites from other historical or cultural periods.
V. Programmes of historical research are needed to support policies for the
protection of the industrial heritage. Because of the interdependency of many
industrial activities, international studies can help identify sites and types
of sites of world importance.
VI. The criteria for assessing industrial buildings should be defined and
published so as to achieve general public acceptance of rational and consistent
standards. On the basis of appropriate research, these criteria should be used
to identify the most important surviving landscapes, settlements, sites,
typologies, buildings, structures, machines and processes.
VII. Those sites and structures that are identified as important should be
protected by legal measures that are sufficiently strong to ensure the
conservation of their significance. The World Heritage List of UNESCO should
give due recognition to the tremendous impact that industrialisation has had on
VIII. The value of significant sites should be defined and guidelines for
future interventions established. Any legal, administrative and financial
measures that are necessary to maintain their value should be put in place.
IX. Sites that are at risk should be identified so that appropriate measures
can be taken to reduce that risk and facilitate suitable schemes for repairing
or re-using them.
X. International co-operation is a particularly appropriate approach to the
conservation of the industrial heritage through co-ordinated initiatives and
sharing resources. Compatible criteria should be developed to compile
international inventories and databases.
4. Legal protection
I. The industrial heritage should be seen as an integral part of the cultural
heritage in general. Nevertheless, its legal protection should take into account
the special nature of the industrial heritage. It should be capable of
protecting plant and machinery, below-ground elements, standing structures,
complexes and ensembles of buildings, and industrial landscapes. Areas of
industrial waste should be considered for their potential archaeological as well
as ecological value.
II. Programmes for the conservation of the industrial heritage should be
integrated into policies for economic development and into regional and national
III. The most important sites should be fully protected and no interventions
allowed that compromise their historical integrity or the authenticity of their
fabric. Sympathetic adaptation and re-use may be an appropriate and a
cost-effective way of ensuring the survival of industrial buildings, and
should be encouraged by appropriate legal controls, technical advice, tax
incentives and grants.
IV. Industrial communities which are threatened by rapid structural change
should be supported by central and local government authorities. Potential
threats to the industrial heritage from such changes should be anticipated and
plans prepared to avoid the need for emergency actions.
V. Procedures should be established for responding quickly to the closure of
important industrial sites to prevent the removal or destruction of significant
elements. The competent authorities should have statutory powers to intervene
when necessary to protect important threatened sites.
VI. Government should have specialist advisory bodies that can give
independent advice on questions relating to the protection and conservation of
industrial heritage, and their opinions should be sought on all important cases.
VII. Every effort should be made to ensure the consultation and participation
of local communities in the protection and conservation of their local
VIII. Associations and societies of volunteers have an important role in
identifying sites, promoting public participation in industrial
conservation and disseminating information and research, and as such are
indispensable actors in the theatre of industrial heritage.
5. Maintenance and conservation
I. Conservation of the industrial heritage depends on preserving functional
integrity, and interventions to an industrial site should therefore aim to
maintain this as far as possible. The value and authenticity of an industrial
site may be greatly reduced if machinery or components are removed, or if
subsidiary elements which form part of a whole site are destroyed.
II. The conservation of industrial sites requires a thorough knowledge of the
purpose or purposes to which they were put, and of the various industrial
processes which may have taken place there. These may have changed over time,
but all former uses should be examined and assessed.
III. Preservation in situ should always be given priority
consideration. Dismantling and relocating a building or structure are only
acceptable when the destruction of the site is required by overwhelming economic
or social needs.
IV. The adaptation of an industrial site to a new use to ensure its
conservation is usually acceptable except in the case of sites of especial
historical significance. New uses should respect the significant material and
maintain original patterns of circulation and activity, and should be compatible
as much as possible with the original or principal use. An area that interprets
the former use is recommended.
V. Continuing to adapt and use industrial buildings avoids wasting energy and
contributes to sustainable development. Industrial heritage can have an
important role in the economic regeneration of decayed or declining areas. The
continuity that re-use implies may provide psychological stability for
communities facing the sudden end a long-standing sources of employment.
VI. Interventions should be reversible and have a minimal impact. Any
unavoidable changes should be documented and significant elements that are
removed should be recorded and stored safely. Many industrial processes confer a
patina that is integral to the integrity and interest of the site.
VII. Reconstruction, or returning to a previous known state, should be
considered an exceptional intervention and one which is only appropriate if it
benefits the integrity of the whole site, or in the case of the destruction of a
major site by violence.
VIII. The human skills involved in many old or obsolete industrial processes
are a critically important resource whose loss may be irreplaceable. They need
to be carefully recorded and transmitted to younger generations.
IX. Preservation of documentary records, company archives, building plans, as
well as sample specimens of industrial products should be encouraged.
6. Education and training
I. Specialist professional training in the methodological, theoretical and
historical aspects of industrial heritage should be taught at technical and
II. Specific educational material about the industrial past and its heritage
should be produced by and for students at primary and secondary level.
7. Presentation and interpretation
I. Public interest and affection for the industrial heritage and appreciation
of its values are the surest ways to conserve it. Public authorities should
actively explain the meaning and value of industrial sites through
publications, exhibitions, television, the Internet and other media, by
providing sustainable access to important sites and by promoting tourism in
II. Specialist industrial and technical museums and conserved industrial
sites are both important means of protecting and interpreting the industrial
III. Regional and international routes of industrial heritage can highlight
the continual transfer of industrial technology and the large-scale movement of
people that can be caused by it.
 The ICOMOS ‘Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration
of Monuments and Sites', 1964
 For convenience, 'sites' will be taken to
mean landscapes, complexes, buildings, structures and machines unless these
terms are used in a more specific way.