London's Transport Museum Gets Green Light For £18m Re-fit

By David Prudames | 19 November 2004
Shows a design in progress for the London Underground Roundel.

An icon in progress. The Johnston Roundel, 1926, a symbol synonymous with the capital. © London's Transport Museum.

London's Transport Museum has been given the go ahead for an £18 million re-furbishment project following the confirmation of an £8.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The work will see the museum transformed with new displays and galleries to show off a wider selection of the 300,000 items currently in storage including original artwork, photographs and posters.

Speaking on November 18 as the announcement was made, Sam Mullins, Director of London's Transport Museum, expressed his delight.

"Today's confirmation of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant is wonderful news. We are currently in active negotiation with other major sponsors and look forward to announcing their commitment to this exciting project in the near future."

Shows a black and white photograph of the staff of Peckham Garage in 1957, on a staff outing.

Peckham Garage outing, c.1957. © London's Transport Museum.

"Their funding will enable the Museum to release the commitment from Transport for London and mobilise this project."

Work is expected to start in spring 2005 and during the construction phase at Covent Garden, the museum be conducting a series of outreach projects, as well as a road show in partnership with other venues and continued open days at Acton depot.

Appropriately enough, the announcement was made on the opening day of a new exhibition about the history of the museum's headquarters in Covent Garden.

The vast Victorian building began life in 1872 as a flower market and has since been immortalised in the musical My Fair Lady.

Shows a photograph of a work of art, which depicts the London Underground map as if drawn out using tubes of paint, hanging on a door in a museum store.

Tate by Tube. There are hundreds of artefacts, photographs and works of art currently in store that will go on public display at the re-furbished museum. © London's Transport Museum.

Bloomin' Marvellous is on show until January 9 2005 and takes a fascinating look back to the area's origins as a convent garden and tells its story, not so innocent Turkish baths, gambling dens and all.

These days it houses one of the capital’s most popular museums, which attracts over 200,000 visitors every year.

However, at present, environmental conditions prevent around 75% of the institution’s collections from being shown safely and the planned series of works will see sensitive adaptations to the glazed roof to create a significantly improved display environment.

The museum will then be able to choose from over 300,000 sensitive items to go on display for the first time at the Covent Garden site.

Shows a poster depicting a planet with rings round it, hanging in a black space, above which is a London Underground Roundel, also floating. Underneath is the slogan, Keeps London Going.

An advertising poster from 1938, designed by Man Ray. © London's Transport Museum.

These include many of its star attractions such as posters by the surrealist artist Man Ray, the first drawings of the famous diagrammatic Tube map by Harry Beck and sketches for the iconic roundel, the London Underground logo.

Dramatic new integrated displays will present the unique story of London's transport and its impact on London and Londoners, while new galleries will offer visitors the chance to interact with possible future of transport systems.

On top of the £8.6 million from the HLF, a massive £5 million has been pledged to the project by Transport for London, provided the museum can raise the remainder.

Although further support is still needed, £600,000 has already been donated by the Friends of London's Transport Museum and a further £1 million has been raised from commercial sponsors, educational trusts and foundations.

Shows a black and white photograph of a group of men working on digging an underground tunnel.

Tunnelling below the busy streets of the capital in 1923. © London's Transport Museum.

"This popular museum has one of the world's best urban transport collections," added Carole Souter, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

"Taking its treasure trove of objects out of store cupboards with lottery cash is just the ticket to improve this amazing museum."

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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