Whitworth extension gets £8m lottery grant

Work will start in September on the addition to Manchester University's Whitworth Art Gallery on Oxford Road after a successful bid for Heritage Lottery Fund cash.

The £12m project, designed by McInnes Usher McKnight Architects, will double the size of the public space, adding 4,000 sq ft of display area, and create an art garden and new main entrance from Whitworth Park. A new north wing will be built into the park, housing a landscape gallery where the Whitworth's international collection will be displayed. There will also be a new study centre and a promenade gallery leading to the south wing, comprising a new café and a learning studio opening into the art garden.

See gallery of architect's designs below

Exhibition spaces on the first floor will be improved and the Edwardian staircases will be opened up into the Grand Hall. There will be three new barrel ceiling exhibition galleries with windows onto Whitworth Park.

Over the past five years the number of visitors to the 120-year old Whitworth Art Gallery has doubled to 170,000.

There has been £11m raised towards the development, leaving a £1m shortfall. A spokesman for the gallery said there were applications in with various charitable trusts to plug the gap, some of whom were awaiting the HLF grant before making their own decisions.

There will also be a public fund-raising campaign launched soon. Work will start in September regardless of how much of the final £1m is raised.

The funders so far are:

  • £8m HLF
  • £1m Manchester University
  • £1m Whitworth endowments
  • £1m Other trusts and donations

Gallery director, Maria Balshaw, said: "We've been developing our plans for over three years and can't wait to start on the real thing. The project will create a gallery that's truly fit for the 21st Century and which we know our visitors are going to love."

Completion is scheduled for autumn 2013.

Click image to launch gallery

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