A project that will see the grade one-listed museum, gallery and library in Preston’s Market Square refurbished and reimagined can begin this autumn after the city council’s £4.5m bid to the National Lottery Fund was approved.
The money was the last piece of the funding jigsaw required to unlock the scheme, which includes plans to accentuate the Harris Building’s original Lancaster Road entrance, introduce a new internal lift and staircase, and remove mezzanine floors to open out the full original galleries.
The lottery grant adds to £3.6m already committed by Preston City Council, Lancashire County Council, the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, Arts Council England, and the Friends of the Harris.
An additional £1.9m is to come from the £19.9m Preston is due to receive from the Government’s Towns Fund.
The proposals, approved by Preston City Council in January, will also see conservation work carried out to the roof and basement, to resolve damp issues that have affected the Victorian building.
The improvements are designed to “return the building to its original splendour and reveal some of the Harris’ original architectural details, which have previously been hidden”, according to the council.
Cllr Peter Kelly, cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council, said: “We are enormously grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for this fantastic support, which is the final piece of funding we need to make this exciting reimagining of the Harris a reality.
“This is wonderful news for the Harris and for Preston. It means we can bring to life the transformational plans that have been developed in partnership with expert advisors and local people, at the same time as giving the Harris the structural attention it so deserves.”
Work on the project, designed by Buttress Architects, is due to start this autumn and conclude in 2024.