The London-based charity supports excellence in the fields of science, education, health and the arts and humanities, including museums and galleries, historic buildings and landscapes. It has already awarded more than £1 million to some 20 projects across Plymouth as part of a wider portfolio of funding in the South West, with recently supported projects including the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Theatre Royal Plymouth and St Luke’s Hospice.
The news of the Wolfson Foundation grant comes hot on the heels of a positive planning decision for the History Centre, with the development unanimously being given the green light at last month’s Planning Committee.
The Wolfson Foundation grant will be used to develop a gallery called ‘100 Journeys That Shaped the World’. Drawing on the city’s historic collections, the space will be used to explore Plymouth’s place in the world through tales of empire, discovery and conquest.
Featured names will include Drake and the Spanish Armada, Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain Cook, Charles Darwin, Gertrude Benham, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, Francis Chichester and the Falklands fleet.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “This is another piece of great news for the History Centre and we’re thrilled to receive this grant from an organisation as prestigious as the Wolfson Foundation. As well as the support it’s given Plymouth, the charity has supported projects including The Hepworth in Wakefield, the V&A Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe in London, so we’re in very good company indeed.”
Paul Brookes, History Centre Programme Director said: “The 100 Journeys gallery will highlight how voyages to and from Plymouth over the ages have contributed to great change. The grant from the Wolfson Foundation will really help develop this exciting space and highlight the diversity of our collections, benefitting the History Centre as a whole.”
Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “The concept for the 100 Journeys gallery is brilliant; placing Plymouth at the heart of international journeys and through those journeys connecting to global events and ideas. We were very impressed by the ambitious nature of this whole project, which clearly demonstrates Plymouth’s important role as a city of exchange and discovery.”
The History Centre is set to open in Spring 2020 and will see the City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library and St Luke’s Church buildings redeveloped into a world class cultural and heritage centre. In addition to the Wolfson Foundation funding, support from Plymouth City Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England has already been offered for the £34 million scheme.