Museum Of Childhood Gets £3.5m Christmas Present From Lottery

By David Prudames | 22 December 2004
Shows a photograph of some schoolchildren oustide the main entrance to the Museum of Childhood.

The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Photo Maja Kardum. © Victoria and Albert Museum.

Christmas has come early for the Museum of Childhood with a cheque for a whopping £3.5 million turning up in its stocking.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced plans to award the cash to the Bethnal Green-based institution to pay for the second stage of its redevelopment masterplan.

"We’re very pleased that we can now take our redevelopment forward," said museum director, Diane Lees.

"We’ve had a tremendous positive response from visitors to the first stage of improvements, and evidence of its success has been borne out by our growing visitor numbers."

As well as a new entrance hall, there will be a gallery space to showcase work from the museum’s many community projects and a new learning centre to increase capacity for thousands of school pupils who visit each year.

Furthermore, a state-of-the-art glass lift will give access to all floors, including the innovative new galleries and interactive displays on the mezzanine level.

"This next phase of work will ensure that our facilities for visitors, community presence and all of our gallery displays are second-to-none," added Diane Lees.

Shows a photograph of three young children wearing costumes. The image has been taken using a special lens to make it appear distorted.

"There's no better atmosphere than the Childhood Museum on a Saturday when it's full of excited children, and adults!" enthused Onna King, MP for Bethnal Green.

After money ran out for its Victorian developers, grand designs for an ornate façade and courtyard for the museum were shelved.

Now, 130 years on, award-winning architects Caruso St John have taken up the challenge of designing an entrance fit for one of east London’s most significant buildings.

Despite having a modern look and feel, the design will be sympathetic to the style of the Victorian architecture and red brick of the main building.

"By investing lottery players' money in this magical museum we are giving an early Christmas present to the thousands of children who come to play and learn here," explained Sue Bowers, Heritage Lottery Fund Regional Manager for London.

"A green light for plans that had to be abandoned 130 years ago is a gift that we are very excited about giving."

Work is set to commence in February 2005 and although it won’t be finished until January 2007, the museum will be open as usual throughout.

Shows an illustraion entitled the Frog Princess. It shows a female figure leaning over towards a frog that is sitting on a rock.

The Frog Princess by J M King is set to become part of Glasgow City Council's collection and will go on display at the redeveloped Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

The announcement follows the news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has allocated a further £3 million to collections and initiatives in Scotland.

From conserving and displaying archives to creating a new Heritage Hub the cash will go to a range of projects.

Glasgow City Council is set to be given a grant of £130,000 to help buy a huge collection of designs, sketches, silver jewellery, ceramics, book plates, greeting cards and posters by Jessie Marion King.

Born in 1875, King studied under Charles Rennie Mackintosh at Glasgow School of Art and became one of the most successful designers and illustrators to emerge from the city at the end of the 19th century.

She is best known for her illustrations for books of fairy stories and Arthurian legend and this collection of 158 works reflects a style synonymous with the identity of Glasgow.

Shows a photograph of a Scottish piper in kilt and jacket, standing in a frozen wasteland next to a penguin.

The Royal Geographical Society will now be able to protect and conserve its archive of 150,000 artefacts as well as making them accessible to the public. Photo: 1904 Scotia Expedition to Antarctica.

The Royal Geographical Society has been awarded £160,300 to transform its archive of 150,000 artefacts documenting Scottish travel, expeditions, geographical research and maps of international importance.

Housed at the University of Strathclyde, the archive includes Sir George Everest’s expedition logs from his time in India, unique 16th and 17th century maps, and photos from early 20th century Antarctic expeditions.

The lottery money will be used to conserve the items and make them publicly available both physically and online.

Scottish Borders Council will get £1,896,000 to turn Hawick’s historic Marina building into a state-of-the-art archive and local family history centre.

The Heritage Hub will bring archives from across the region together to be stored safely, catalogued, and made available for study.

Lastly, the collection of Sir Basil Spence, one of Britain’s best known 20th century architects will be conserved and catalogued by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

With £975,000, the collection - which includes his competition-winning design for Coventry Cathedral - will be used to create community workshops and a major show at the Dean Gallery.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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