£12.8M Heritage Lottery Fund grant will bring Plymouth legends to life at major new attraction

Plymouth is today celebrating £12.8M of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create a major new historic and cultural attraction in the very heart of the city.

The HLF today announced the results of its major grants (applications of £5m and over) Board meeting which saw Plymouth approved to receive more than half of the cash needed (a total of £12,873,500) to create the much anticipated £21M ‘History Centre’ that will breathe life into the city’s world-famous figures and most precious historic collections.

The History Centre, which will not be the attraction’s eventual name, will unite five separate heritage collections into one single location including treasures from the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; Plymouth and West Devon Record Office; South West Film and Television Archive; South West Image Bank and the Local Studies and Reference Collection from the Central Library. Plymouth University is also an official partner through the engagement of Peninsula Arts and its world leading research and teaching in history and related disciplines.

An important factor contributing to the success of the bid to the HLF was the Council’s investment of £5M to the History Centre, which demonstrated the clear commitment of city leaders to the project.

The listed buildings on North Hill which currently house the Museum and Central Library will be refurbished, a new large extension added and the former St Luke’s Church at Tavistock Place will also be renovated. Together this will create an attraction three times the size of the existing museum, which will include WOW spaces to showcase the staggering array of historic treasures that will be brought to life with interactive displays encouraging visitors to explore further.

Further consultation and engagement activities will be taking place with the public to gather ideas and gain feedback that will be used as part of the development phase.

The History Centre project will receive an initial £940,300 grant from HLF to complete its development phase, which will involve a solid year of planning and consultation to work up the detailed designs for the buildings and exhibition spaces. Once the plans are approved, the remaining £11,933,200M will be released to undertake the build project, as well as transform three organisations into one major new attraction.

The planned opening date for the History Centre is by spring 2019.