After a long and hard-fought campaign to keep it open to the public, Walthamstow's William Morris Gallery seems to have finally secured its future.
© William Morris Gallery
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.5 million has been confirmed for the redevelopment of the Gallery, which is home to a superb collection including woven and printed fabrics, ceramics, wallpaper, furniture and Morris's political works.
Matched by £1.5 million from Waltham Forest Council, the award will go towards a refurbishment and extension of the much-loved building, providing more exhibition space, a new tearoom, a learning centre with school space, library and meeting room.
Waltham Forest's Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Culture, Councillor Geraldine Reardon, paid tribute to a turbulent campaign led by the Friends of the Gallery which has sparked much discussion and debate at a time of cuts and staff upheaval.
"This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work on the part of Gallery staff and the Friends of William Morris Gallery and the whole borough owes them a debt of thanks," she said.
"With a new exhibition and events programme, more people are already visiting the Gallery, but this award will enable us to transform it into a more beautiful and useful art gallery, museum, learning centre and meeting place we can be even more proud of."
Described by HLF London Chief Sue Bowers as one of outer the capital's "historical treasures", the Gallery was home to the family of William Morris from 1848 to 1856 and is the only public gallery devoted to the designer, craftsman, writer, socialist and conservationist.
The funding application, part of a continuing fundraising campaign, was submitted by Waltham Forest Council and follows earlier good news that the Gallery has been given grants of £500,000 and £150,000 by two other charitable trusts.