Brunel Museum

Planning approved for Brunel Museum expansion project

A new pavilion and refurbished Engine House are among the plans which make up its ‘Brunel Museum Reinvented’ project.

The Brunel Museum has received planning permission for the latest phase of its Brunel Museum Reinvented project, which is set to transform the visitor and heritage experience of the museum in Rotherhithe.

First announced in 2020, the new proposals outline an updated visitor attraction and cultural destination which will also provide a home for the collection of Thames Tunnel drawings and watercolours.

The museum plans to retain the Tunnel Shaft Garden and the adjacent ‘Piazza’ as an open space for community activities with the addition of a new Pavilion to welcome visitors, alongside a refurbished Engine House.

Director Katherine McAlpine called the planning permission a “really important milestone for this project.”

“By providing better, more up-to-date facilities, we can offer a much broader range of activities for our local community, from family workshops to new schools programmes, from cultural performances to afterschool clubs. We’re really excited to have met this milestone and will continue working with our community partners to deliver this project”.

Partially funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the museum is fundraising for the remaining money and has successfully secured £23,000 in grants already.

A number of other applications that have been submitted are being considered in January 2022. The museum said it is confident that more funds will follow.

The project has been designed by architects Tate+Co – working with Purcell as conservation architect. This new proposal marks a return to the Brunel Museum for Tate & Co as the practice converted the Grade II* listed Tunnel Shaft into a performance space in 2016.

Jerry Tate, Partner at Tate+Co explained: “The Brunel Museum is an unusual mix of powerful industrial heritage surrounded by an unexpectedly verdant and compelling landscape at the end of the Thames.

“The Project will build on this as a character for development, using this rich palette to create a unique and coherent visitor experience. When completed the project will cement the Museum’s position as a key cultural heritage project for Southwark and South London, as well as a fantastic learning and engagement resource and community space for Rotherhithe.”