History Centre through to next round of CCF bid

Plymouth’s landmark history centre continues to make waves by reaching the next stage of a major Coastal Communities funding bid.

The project has been given the green light to put in a more detailed submission for £2.9 million from this national funding pot that was set up to encourage economic development of the UK’s coastal communities.

Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “There is a lot of work still to do, but even being invited through to the next round is a huge deal.

“It means that another major funding organisation has listened to and is excited by what the History Centre could mean for Plymouth, its residents and the economic opportunities it opens up.

“It means that this project is making waves before a spade is even in the ground. Every major funder we’ve approached so far has been enthusiastic about the scale and vision of what we are trying to achieve.

“This project is raising the profile of heritage and the arts in Britain’s Ocean City to a new level and a lot of organisations are keen to support it. The city’s historic links and significance never fail to surprise people and our visual arts scene is stronger than ever. We’ll be working hard to pull together a really effective bid and hope the CCF will be as supportive of the project and our aspirations as everyone else has been so far.”

The bid will be formally submitted in December and if successful, the funding will contribute towards the redevelopment of the City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library and St Luke’s Church buildings into a major visitor attraction that will bring Plymouth’s most significant cultural and heritage assets onto one site.

The project has already been awarded over £15million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £8million from Plymouth City Council and £128,500 from the Wolfson Foundation. Further bids to Arts Council England and the Clore Foundation are pending and the total cost of the project is expected to be around £34million.

Behind the scenes the History Centre is also moving at pace. The Central Library and St Luke’s Church buildings have been vacated, with the Central Library moved to new premises on Armada Way.

The City Museum and Art Gallery closed at the beginning of September and is now being decanted. All three buildings are scheduled to be handed over to the building contractors in January so construction work can begin.

The History Centre is scheduled to open in spring 2020 as the flagship building for the city’s Mayflower 400 commemorations.

Led by the Council, the History Centre is a partnership with Plymouth University, the South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA), the South West Image Bank (SWIB) and the National Museums of the Royal Navy. Once completed, the collections from the city’s Reference and Local Studies Library, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, City Museum and Art Gallery, SWFTA and SWIB will all be contained on one site. Some of the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre’s stunning collection of figureheads and objects will also be taken on loan.

The Big Lottery Fund is delivering the CCF on behalf of UK Government and the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The UK Government announced in 2015 that the CCF will be extended to 2021 with at least £90m of new funding available for the period 2017/18 to 2020/21.

To stay up to date with the project’s progress visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/loveourpast or follow @loveourpast on Facebook and Twitter.