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Lottery winners and losers: £150m to make Britain’s museums and galleries into world leaders

But Victoria and Albert Museum’s £23m British Galleries project sent back to the drawing board

Britain’s museums and galleries have been awarded £150m from the Lottery for major projects. Among the winners are the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wallace Collection, Manchester City Art Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. London’s National Gallery benefits indirectly by getting some of the adjoining National Portrait Gallery’s first floor galleries to compensate it for loss of light to basement offices. The Victoria & Albert Museum’s project to refurbish its British Galleries has been given support to develop its proposal in greater detail, the Heritage Lottery Fund feeling that further work is required to identify the costs with accuracy.

On 20 February, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced the results of its first “batch” of development projects, all worth over £1m. As The Art Newspaper reported (No.66, January 1997, p.14), seventy-four applications were submitted last June for projects totalling £450m. Last November this was whittled down to forty applications for £275m.

HLF trustees ultimately made 26 awards (three of these were approved in principle but precise amounts have not been finalised). The total for the 23 projects is £137m, and once the other three have been added, it is likely to rise to around £150m. Applicants are required to find at least 25% of the costs in partnership funding and this means that the total value of the projects will exceed £200m.

Seven projects were rejected. Discussions were continuing over another. In other cases, either an award was made for developing a proposal or the HLF had reservations and felt more planning was needed. In these cases, applicants are welcome to resubmit their proposal (with the HLF helping towards “development costs”). The projects where further development costs are offered are the National Railway Museum in York, the National Coal Mining Museum in Wakefield, the Hancock Museum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in Singleton, the Big Pit colliery in Torfaen, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The V&A had applied for £23m towards the £31m cost of refurbishing its British Galleries, which are now in deplorable condition (The Art Newspaper, No.59, May 1996, p. 19). This is a larger sum than any of the other awards made in this batch.

The HLF’s awards total about £150m, representing just over half its disbursements for the year, which are likely to amount to around £260m.

The Winners

  • Tate Gallery £18,750,000 (Total project cost £27,670,000). To relaunch the British Collection at Millbank—with new galleries, refurbishment, an entrance on Atterbury St, improved visitor facilities, establishment of the British Art Information Project. The scheme should provide 35% more space for the display of British art after the Modern Collection moves to Bankside.
  • Manchester City Art Gallery £15,000,000 (£20,640,000). A new extension with a glazed link between the main Barry-designed building and the Athenaeum building. Improved visitor and storage facilities.
  • British Film Institute, Berkhamsted £13,875,000 (£18,500,000). For cataloguing, preservation, storage, access and digitalisation of the National Film and Television Archive.
  • Manchester Museum £12,000,000 (£17,566,882). To improve the display and storage of the natural history collection. New galleries and visitor facilities.
  • National Portrait Gallery £11,900,000 (£15,900,000). For a new wing to include a Tudor gallery, roof-top café and visitor facilities. The neighbouring National Gallery will receive the NPG’s East Wing first-floor galleries as compensation for loss of light to basement offices.
  • Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester £8,800,000 (£13,200,000). This second HLF award will be used to convert an 1830 warehouse into three major galleries. Improved facilities.
  • World of Glass Hotties Science & Arts Centre, St Helens £8,300,000 (£13,558,026). A national glass centre, in a new purpose-designed building.
  • “Swindon... This is Swindon” £7,960,000 (£10,690,440). For a railway heritage project in a 19th century building.
  • Wallace Collection, London £7,243,000 (£10,385,000). A study centre, library, new galleries, improved facilities, with the development of the basement of Hertford House.
  • Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh £6,311,000 (£9,251,704). The Paolozzi Centre, housing sculptor Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s gift of his vast accumulation of artworks and associated items.
  • Reading Town Hall & Museum £3,854,625 (£5,139,500). Completion of the Town Hall project, with renovation of galleries and restoration of the 1882 hall.
  • Museum of Scottish Country Life, East Kirkbridge £3,813,186 (£8,063,186). A new building set close to a 1780s farmhouse, just a few miles from Glasgow city centre.
  • Sunderland Museum & Art Gallery £3,750,000 (£5,000,000). New galleries and facilities for Britain’s oldest municipal museum (1845).
  • Ballymena Museum, Northern Ireland approx. £3,520,000 (£4,924,000). A purpose-built museum within the town hall. This will enhance provision in Northern Ireland, which is “under-museumed”.
  • Cambridge University Library £2,500,000 (max) (£10,999,000). New exhibition centre, and extension of reading rooms for manuscripts and rare books.
  • Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth £1,957,000 (£2,609,000). Renovation of the Victorian building and improved visitor facilities.
  • Courtauld Institute, London £1,884,000 (£2,534,000). Improvements to the Somerset House galleries.
  • Museum in the Park, Stroud £1,829,000 (£2,447,000). Refurbishment of Stratford Park Mansion, a late 18th century house in its historic park.
  • Oxfordshire County Museum, Woodstock £1,826,286 (£2,310,236). Refurbishment of Fletcher’s House, which dates back to 13th century. New facilities.
  • Silver Studio Collection, Barnet £1,644,500 (£2,529,000). For the archive of the Silver Studio, comprising wallpaper and textile designs. A new gallery will be built at Middlesex University’s Cat Hill campus.
  • Welsh Slate Museum, Llanberis, £1,610,600 (£2,147,600). An industrial heritage project in a slate mine.
  • Museum of the History of Science, Oxford £1,195,000 (£1,592,600). In the Old Ashmolean Building (the world’s first purpose-designed museum), there will be a new exhibition gallery and visitor facilities.
  • National Waterways Museum, Gloucester £1,140,000 (£1,520,000). A museum of canal history in a nineteenth-century warehouse. Improved facilities.
  • Arts & Heritage Centre, Rochdale approval in principle. Refurbishment of The Esplanade (1883), for the display of Rochdale’s museum collection.
  • Towneley Hall, Burnley approval in principle. Towneley Hall houses a museum and art gallery, and a new adjacent building will provide much needed visitor facilities.

Figures are HLF grant (with total project cost in brackets)