Drawing of the Amuseum proposals by Buttress Architects. Facade designed by FWP.

Blackpool Museum funding pot grows

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The proposed Blackpool Museum has been awarded £4m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, adding to a funding pot of more than £10m for the scheme which is targeting an opening date in 2021.

The project, previously referred to as the Amuseum, is a long-running proposal being led by Blackpool Council. Initially a £26m museum within the Winter Gardens, these plans were reworked in 2017 after being deemed too expensive.

In its current form, which is estimated to cost around £14m, the Blackpool Museum is set to be installed within the redeveloped Sands Venue. Owner Coolsilk Property & Investment is currently on site refurbishing the building, which will also include a five-star hotel and leisure complex. A 2020 completion date for the works is being targeted, while the museum is due to open in 2021.

Overall, the museum’s permanent exhibitions will occupy around 12,000 sq ft.

The award from the Heritage Lottery Fund adds to more than £6m received so far from various successful bids; £400,000 was already granted from the Lottery Fund last year, while the project has also received £4m from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, and £1.7m from the Coastal Revival Fund.

Buttress are advising the council on the museum. Last year the council launched a search for a construction manager for the project however no suitable candidate was found so the works are being managed in-house. A tender for fit-out contractors is due to put out later this year.

Blackpool Council is working with the V&A on the exhibitions, which would celebrate the town’s role in British popular entertainment and tell the story of the seaside resort through a permanent display of circus, music, variety and ballroom dance.

The museum funding was confirmed in the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s first North Committee meeting, with has been given powers to sign-off projects of up to £5m to speed up delivery.

At the same meeting, The Whitaker Experience in Rossendale was awarded £1.7m for a refurbishment, and ‘Dippy on Tour’ was granted £159,000, to support the region as it hosts the Natural History Museum’s famous dinosaur across a range of venues.

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