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A concept for the East End Women's Museum (c) Manalo & White, illustrations by Lauren Li Porter
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East End Women’s Museum cancels plans for permanent location

A concept for the East End Women's Museum (c) Manalo & White, illustrations by Lauren Li Porter

The museum said it was “sad and frustrated” after lease and funding complications have made the project unviable

Plans to open the first permanent location for the East End Women’s Museum have been cancelled, its trustees have announced.

The project was hoped to create the first space for the museum in Barking town centre, which was set to open this year.

The museum said funding had been raised via grants from trusts and foundations in the arts sector, crowdfunding campaigns and individual donations.

This funding had enabled the project team to successfully complete RIBA stage 3.It said difficulties finalising the lease – beyond the museum’s control – had meant it was unable to accept some of the funding grants it had been awarded, making the project unviable.

Architects from Manalo & White and a project manager from Through & Around had worked alongside museum staff to create plans for the space which was offered by London Borough of Barking and Dagenham council (LBBD).

The museum, which shares and celebrates the stories of East London women, claims to be the only dedicated women’s museum in England. It is currently a ‘pop-up’ museum offering temporary exhibitions, online and touring around East London, and school and community workshops.

A concept for the East End Women's Museum (c) Manalo & White, illustrations by Lauren Li Porter

In a statement, the museum said of the project’s cancellation: “Despite exploring multiple avenues, it was not possible to agree a way of working that was acceptable to all stakeholders.”

The museum’s board said it will continue to create community partnerships across East London to deliver new exhibitions, events, schools and community programmes.

A spokesperson for the museum said: “we know that we will find the space that is right for the museum in the future.

“We are beyond disappointed that we won’t be moving into the building in Barking. The Board, our volunteers, supporters, and the project team have worked so hard to make this a reality. We are sad and frustrated we have got to this point.

“The support we have received and the work that has been completed to date means we know that more than ever, a museum like ours is needed to tell the stories of the great women in history.

“Whilst this is the announcement we never wanted to make, we do want to take the opportunity to say thank you to the local community and our volunteers for their ongoing support and sharing their stories, and to the funders that believed in us. We look forward to working with you and continuing to make history together.”