The Harris to receive £803,249 in funding which helps safeguard nation’s cultural heritage
- The Council owned Harris is among more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues to receive Government’s Cultural Investment Fund (CIF)
- Awarded through the Museums Estate and Development Fund (MEND) strand of the funding, this award will enable the Harris to undertake urgent stonework repairs to the deteriorating façade of the building, in addition to works already being undertaken as part of the £10m National Lottery Heritage Fund project.
Galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country, including The Harris, are to benefit from almost £50 million of funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.
The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in Preston, Lancashire has been awarded a grant of £803,249 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England.
The Harris is a Grade I listed building, and jewel in Preston’s crown. The MEND funding compliments the existing Harris Your Place capital project to Re-imagine and preserve the Harris for future generations. In 2021, the Harris temporarily closed to the public to begin its major capital project – Harris Your Place.
The restoration will make the Harris more welcoming and inclusive, with structural works and layout improvements to the Grade I-listed building, creating a world-class cultural attraction and community hub fit for the 21st century. With the support of National Lottery Heritage Fund the Harris was able to commence work on an initial £10m scheme, increasing to £12.4 with the addition of Towns Fund investment and grants from Garfield Weston Foundation and Wolfson Foundation. This £803,249 award marks another significant milestone in delivery of the project, bringing the total project to £13.2m. This enables repairs to the external stonework of the building to be completed alongside Harris Your Place, in time for the planned re-opening in 2025.
The generous support from the MEND fund allows the project to extend the scope of works and further invest in improving the Harris, carrying out additional works to the second floor and basement that were originally outside of scope of the £10m project. This is great news for Prestonians and visitors to the city who will be able to enjoy an enhanced cultural attraction and civic hub.
Almost 130 years old the Harris is tired. It isn’t as accessible as it should be for everyone who needs it. Conservation is needed to reveal hidden original architectural details and to tackle the leaking roof and damp basement which pose a threat to the Harris’ collections. The Harris Your Place project and now with the support of the MEND funding will allow us to preserve the much loved building.
Harris Your Place is, of course, much more than preserving the building and as our way of life changes ever more quickly, we need to ensure the Harris remains a vibrant heart of the community, where people want to spend their time.
While work is carried out to our beloved building visitors are able to enjoy our continued library service and range of Harris activities at our Home-from-home in Preston’s Guild Hall and pop ups across the city.
Darren Henley, Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England, said:
“Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.
The Cultural Investment Fund will see £48 million distributed to 63 organisations. It is allocated through three streams: £24 million through the Cultural Development Fund; £18.8 million through the Museums Estate and Development Fund; and £5 million through the Libraries Improvement Fund. The announcement follows a concerted effort by the government to support the country’s vital cultural organisations.
The Museum Estate and Development Fund helps fund museum and local authority infrastructure projects and urgent maintenance works beyond their day-to-day budgets.”
Arts Minister Lord Parkinson, said:
“Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.
Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.
This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”
Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council, added,
“We are enormously grateful to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, and to Arts Council England for this fantastic support, which represents more important funding for the Harris and enhances our delivery of Harris Your Place.
This is fantastic news for the Harris and for Preston. It means we can make much-needed repairs to the external stonework of the Harris as part of the wider Harris Your Place project, and welcome our visitors back to a fully renovated building in 2025.
The further funding, from the DCMS once again demonstrates the faith and commitment national funders have in the Harris Your Place and the wider City Investment Plan vision.