The National Heritage Memorial Fund has been awarding grants to safeguard the UK’s most important heritage since 1980. In our 40th anniversary year, we are proud to continue this legacy.

We are currently developing a response to support nationally-important heritage at risk due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

As a result, we are only accepting applications for urgent cases that meet this criteria.

If you have an urgent application, please contact us.

NHMF can help fund heritage projects of all sizes. There is no limit to the percentage of funding that can be applied for. However, as NHMF operates as a fund of last resort, you must be able to prove that you have explored, or are exploring, all other possible sources of funding. 

We can only consider paying the total costs of a project in exceptional circumstances.


Who can apply

  • Charities (voluntary and public) 
  • Not-for-profit organisations
  • Public bodies

Who cannot apply

  • Private individuals
  • Commercial businesses

What can be funded

NHMF can help buy anything which is of outstanding importance to the national heritage and either at risk or of memorial character. For example:

  • works of fine and decorative art
  • museum collections
  • archives
  • manuscripts
  • items of transport and industrial history
  • historic buildings and land

In exceptional circumstances, NHMF can fund emergency repairs when a heritage asset (excluding historic buildings and structures) is at imminent risk of irreparable damage.

What cannot be funded

  • restoration costs, aside from emergency repairs
  • the creation of replicas
  • yearly revenue funding
  • day-to-day running costs or maintenance
  • the costs of payroll staff
  • development studies
  • research projects
  • costs of general furniture, fittings and equipment
  • we will not normally consider items which are less than 10 years old
  • costs which have already been spent. For example, we cannot reimburse individuals or organisations for items that have been paid for or secured with a down payment or deposit.

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We do not define heritage, importance or risk - it is up to applicants to make the case for each. However, we do ask projects to meet the following criteria:

Importance to the national heritage 

Your project must be concerned with buying, maintaining or preserving objects, collections, buildings or land that are of particular importance to the national heritage of the UK.

Outstanding interest

The item/s must also be in some way outstanding. This could be because of rarity, quality, association with a historic figure or event or designations.

And either: 

At risk

The role of the Fund is specifically to save items that are at risk. Therefore you must be able to prove that the item/s will be at risk in some way should you not be able to acquire them.


Memorial character

Items that have a direct link with conflicts or those who lost their lives during them, are given special consideration. Such items still have to meet NHMF’s essential criteria, but they do not have to be at risk. 

Other considerations


  • The price of the item you wish to buy must not exceed the current market value.
  • Applicants must commission an independent valuation and submit it with their application. NHMF will also commission our own independent valuation.
  • Valuations are not required for export-stopped items or those declared treasure.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you can provide an appropriate, permanent and secure home for your chosen item/s.

Public access

It is essential that all heritage items we support will be made publicly accessible. Your application should demonstrate how your acquisition of the item will provide new opportunities for the public to access it. If an object is too fragile for long-term display or unrestricted access to land or a building could put it at risk, then managed or restricted access can be considered.  


It is essential that all NHMF support is acknowledged on any display, interpretation, digital material/websites or hard copy information about your project.


All decisions on NHMF awards are taken by our Board of Trustees. The board meets monthly, excluding July and August.

Urgent cases

We consider urgent cases to be those with a fixed deadline for purchase. Our assessment process normally takes three months from application to decision.

Non-urgent cases

For non-urgent cases, our assessment process normally takes six months from application to decision.

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