First past the chequered flag: Silverstone qualifies for Heritage Lottery Fund support

By Emily Beeson | 09 May 2013 | Updated: 09 May 3013
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Silverstone, the proud home of British motor racing in Northamptonshire, HMS Caroline, the last extant warship of the First World War and Redruth’s aged Cornish Brewery buildings are among six projects sharing £68 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

A photograph of a race car at Silverstone
London’s Alexandra Palace, once known as The People’s Palace and the venue for more than 140 years of events, and Durham’s 12th-century Auckland Castle, which contains a magnificent assortment of Zurbaran paintings, are the other winners alongside two venues in Aberdeen: the city's Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall.

In a competitive round of funding, the sites’ proposals of local cultural regeneration made them strong candidates for new development programmes. Their locations were also central to the decision-making process; each site has been deemed to hold the potential to enrich the surrounding community.

Silverstone’s plans include a new showcase of the only race circuit owned by a non-profit organisation in an exciting development generated by The British Racing Drivers Club.

The site is also intended to house the Club's extensive and unique archive collection, presenting oral histories from former competitors such as Lady Christabel Watson, Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss.

Silverstone held its first race meeting in 1948 and has since played host to the British Grand Prix 47 times.

While continuing to cultivate high standards in British motor sport and engineering, new projects will also work towards reinventing the site’s visitor entrance as a heritage "hub".

In Belfast HMS Caroline will become a visitor attraction allowing the public to learn more about 20th Century naval history from the distinctive perspective of the First World War warship.

Redruth’s historic brewery buildings will undergo new conservation and the town will benefit from new exhibition and learning spaces, as well as a new archive centre in the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, which will document the rich tapestry of Cornwall’s industrial heritage.

The most historically noteworthy areas of the Grade II-listed Alexandra Palace, the BBC Studios and the Victorian Theatre, will be restored and re-opened to reveal the venues’ diverse past of hosting momentous events and high-definition television broadcasting.
In Aberdeen the HLF has backed the deeds of local philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer who put the 800-year-old Auckland Castle and its impressive collection of paintings in trust in 2011. This year, a full restoration project will begin, concluding with the site opening its doors to the public for the first time.
In the centre of Aberdeen, three adjoining A-listed buildings will be redeveloped to create a showcase of the city’s exceptional collection of visual art, including works by Francis Bacon, JMW Turner, Claude Monet and Tracey Emin.

Visit Emily Beeson's blog and follow her on Twitter.
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