The Red List

of Endangered Crafts

Pilgrim TrustFrom blacksmithing to basketry, from weaving to woodturning, we have an incredible range of heritage craft skills in the UK and some of the best craftspeople in the world. But many of these skills are in the hands of individuals who have been unable to make provision to pass them on.

The Heritage Crafts Red List of Endangered Crafts, first published in 2017, was the first report of its kind to rank traditional crafts by the likelihood they would survive to the next generation, based on intangible cultural heritage safeguarding principles, led by Heritage Crafts, the only UK UNESCO-accredited NGO working primarily in the domain of traditional craftsmanship.

The list attracted extensive media coverage both in the UK and abroad, shining a light on heritage craft practices under threat from a number of identifiable issues. It is our hope that this research will act as a call to action to those who have it within their power to resolve or alleviate these issues, and that this project will mark the start of long-term monitoring of heritage craft viability and a shared will to avoid the cultural loss that is borne each time a craft dies.

View the full list

Heritage Crafts committed to updating the list on a regular basis, and so between September 2022 and May 2023 over 900 organisations and individuals were contacted directly by email and telephone and invited to contribute to the research. Participants were asked to provide background information about each craft, such as its history, techniques and local forms, as well as current information relating to the number of skilled craftspeople and trainees, and the ongoing issues affecting the viability of the craft. In May 2023 the fourth edition was published, increasing the number of crafts examined to 259, with five new critically endangered crafts and 17 new endangered crafts added.

Each craft was then classified into one of four categories of endangerment using a combination of both objective criteria (such as numbers of crafts people and trainees) and subjective criteria (issues affecting the future viability of the craft including training opportunities and market trends). Issues affecting the viability of heritage crafts vary on a craft-by-craft basis, though many can be grouped, and possible solutions devised that will help many crafts practices become more viable.

For the purposes of this research, a heritage craft is defined as ‘a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations’. The research focuses on craft practices which are taking place in the UK at the present time, including those crafts which have originated elsewhere, and on those aspects of each craft with a high reliance on hand-work and which involve high levels of hand skill.

If you have any queries about the research, are aware of a heritage craft that is not listed, or have further information to add about any craft, please contact [email protected].

Latest Red List stories

Reviving the craft of cricket ball making in the UK

Reviving the craft of cricket ball making in the UK

Nine more grants to help save endangered crafts

Nine more grants to help save endangered crafts

cricket ball making
Craft skills under threat with 17 additions to the Red List of Endangered Crafts

Craft skills under threat with 17 additions to the Red List of Endangered Crafts

arrowsmithing
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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Two weeks left to apply!

It is still the case that the UK craft sector does not accurately reflect the diversity of the UK as a whole and, for this reason, Heritage Crafts and the City & Guilds Foundation are taking positive action to target this bursary at Black and ethnically diverse groups who are currently under-represented in the craft sector.

We believe that the value of our craft heritage comes from the diversity of skills and traditions across all of our communities, wherever they originated and whenever they were brought here. We want everyone to feel included in Heritage Crafts and our work, no matter how long they have called this country home or what their background may be.

You could be just starting out on your journey in craft or at the point where you want to turn a hobby into a career, or you could already be a maker who is looking to further develop your heritage craft skills.

Our training bursaries for Black and ethnically diverse trainees are supported by @cityandguildsfoundation and are part of a wider scheme of training bursaries currently available. Find out how to apply via the linktr.ee in our bio. The deadline is 5 July 2024.
Are you a craftsperson working away with little recognition? Or do you know one? There is less than two weeks left to nominate yourself or someone else for a Heritage Crafts Award, with cash prizes and a high-profile presentation in November.

• President’s Award for Endangered Crafts
• England Maker of the Year Award
• Northern Ireland Maker of the Year Award
• Scotland Maker of the Year Award
• Wales Maker of the Year Award
• Trainer of the Year Award
• Trainee of the Year Award
• Community Catalyst of the Year Award
• Lifetime Achievement Award

Closing date is 5pm on Friday 7 June and you can find out more and nominate via the linktr.ee in our bio.

📷: Greg Rowland MBE by Rankin
Have you seen our new website? We have launched a brand new site combining our previous three sites into one mobile-friendly platform with a modern design, a password protected members’ section, and the flexibility to adapt as we grow over the next few years. Please bear with us as we continue to populate the site and if you have any issues curating your Makers profile please let us know.

https://heritagecrafts.org.uk

This was funded by the @heritagefunduk and made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.

📷 @meandyoucreates
Join us from 7 to 9 June at our Marquee of Endangered Crafts at the 20th Anniversary @craftfestival in Bovey Tracey where we’ll be featuring fan maker @fantheglorywithtori, pigment maker @londonpigment, marionette maker @buddyollie,  Devon stave basket maker @johnwilliamson.dartmoor, letterpress printer @theletterpresscollective, maille maker @artisansilversmith, willow furniture makers @coatesenglishwillow and withy pot maker @willowcrabpots, as well as talks with @craftivists and @thecrafter_uk.

Booking via the linktr.ee in our bio.