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Coventry Transport Museum secures £4.6m Heritage Lottery Fund investment

02 April 2013

Coventry Transport Museum has received a grant of £4.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to transform a number of galleries and visitor facilities at the Museum, and enable the redevelopment of one of Coventry City’s most iconic buildings, a Grade 1 listed, 12th Century Old Grammar School, it was announced today.

The developments will re-energise Coventry Transport Museum’s galleries, creating a world class experience that will provide enhanced opportunities for people to learn about, and get involved with Coventry’s rich transport heritage.  It will enable people to better understand and appreciate the museum’s collections, and the impact of Coventry’s transport manufacturing heritage on the city and its people.  In addition, the funding will allow the Old Grammar School to be sympathetically conserved, revitalised and brought back into public use as an exhibition, event and education space for the Museum, securing the future of this Grade I listed building, which has sat unused for the past 30 years.

The project aims to be completed by April 2015, and as well as creating lively and entertaining galleries and spaces in both buildings, it will mark the beginning of an innovative new learning programme, developed in partnership with local people, and taking place at both Coventry Transport Museum and the Old Grammar School, as well as out in the community.  This new programme aims to attract 30,000 people to participate in heritage, learning and community development activities, fostering a sense of local pride and promoting community cohesion.  In addition, a series of community forums will be formed, to play an active role in the development of the museum’s galleries and activities, and new volunteering opportunities will give local people the chance to participate in the life of the museum and the Old Grammar School.

The 12th Century Old Grammar School sits in close proximity to Coventry Transport Museum.  It is an English Heritage Grade 1 listed building, included on the ‘at risk’ register.  The building has not been regularly used since the 1980s but this project will enable it to come back into use as a learning, exhibition and events space. As a Museum, we are therefore excited that this important architectural heritage will be back on show to the public. 

Joe Elliott, Chair of the Coventry Transport Museum Board of Directors said:
“This is wonderful news for the Museum and the city. Coventry Transport Museum is already a wonderful attraction, welcoming many thousands of visitors each year, and these developments will help to boost the city’s worldwide reputation as a great tourism destination.”

Gary Hall, Chief Executive of Coventry Transport Museum said:
“We are delighted with today’s news that the HLF will be supporting this important project.  Coventry’s transport heritage and the Old Grammar School are highly valued by people locally, nationally and internationally, and this funding will allow us to both save a unique and historically significant building, and tell our city’s story in an innovative and world class museum.  When the work is completed in 2015, the new facilities will combine with a revitalised programme of activities, placing the two sites firmly at the beating heart of our local community, whilst also shouting about our city across the globe, as we invite the world to come and discover it for themselves.”

Rev. David Mayhew, Chair of the Old Grammar School Trust said:
“It is wonderful to have the news that after many years we are finally able to bring this beautiful building back into public use.  We are very much looking forward to working with the Transport Museum team over the coming years to see the Grammar School transformed.”
Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said:

“Coventry Transport Museum tells a tremendously important story about the area and the UK as a whole. Coventry was and is so important to the motor industry and cars are in its DNA. HLF is thrilled to be able to support this project so more visitors, locally and beyond, can enjoy and learn what this nationally important and evocative collection has to offer.”

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