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We've got the Green Light for HLF Funding

04 April 2012

It was announced today that Coventry Transport has received initial support for a £4.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  Project plans include a major redevelopment of the Museum’s exhibition spaces and the conservation and revitalisation of the City’s Old Grammar School to bring it back into public use.

The project will create a unique, internationally significant transport heritage attraction that will improve the visitor experience and provide enhanced opportunities for people to learn about, and get involved with Coventry’s rich transport heritage.

The funding will also enable the City’s Grade 1 Listed, Old Grammar School to be conserved and restored to house a public access archive and educational facility.

The 14th century, Old Grammar School is a Grade 1 Listed Building that features in English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register. Located on the junction of Bishop St and Hales St on the northern end of Coventry city centre the Grammar School consists of three principle elements: the 14th century infirmary hall, the chapel and north aisle from the Hospital of St John that later became a Grammar School in the 16th century and an early 20th century extension dating from its time as a church hall.

The Old Grammar School continued to see various additions and adaptations over the years but was damaged in a bomb blast in 1941. Whilst the damage was repaired in 1962 the building has been infrequently used since then.
Coventry Transport Museum opened in 1980 and houses the largest collection of British Road Transport in the world. The collection has been designated as a collection of national importance as it portrays the products of a city that changed the world and focuses on the skills and innovation of the people of Coventry.

Coventry has been the location of over 120 motor vehicle manufacturers, 300 cycle manufacturers, 130 motorcycle manufacturers and a variety of commercial vehicle companies. This rich history therefore enables the Museum to put on display over 249 motor vehicles, 450 cycles, 120 motorcycles and well over 1,000,000 archival items that support the interpretive objectives of the Museum.

The Museum is free to enter for all visitors and in 2010/2011 attracted over 400,000 people to see its 14 exhibition galleries. With the help of the HLF the museum will create a new orientation space within the entrance area, six new exhibitions and new education spaces that together, will significantly improve the visitor experience. 

Coventry Transport Museum Chairman Joe Elliott said:

“This is great news for the City of Coventry, the Old Grammar School has been out of use for over 40 years so the Museum is particularly pleased to be working with the Old Grammar School Trust to bring one of Coventry’s oldest buildings back into use.”

Coventry Transport Museum Chief Executive, Gary Hall said

“I am absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this initial support, which will enable us to further develop our plans to improve the Museum’s exhibitions and enhance our educational offer. I am also pleased and proud that we will be restoring the Old Grammar School so that the public will once again be able to enjoy this beautiful building.”

Rev. David Mayhew, Chair of the Old Grammar School Trust said

“We are thrilled that, as a result of our partnership with Coventry Transport Museum, we will finally be able to achieve a long standing ambition to see the Old Grammar School brought back into use and particularly excited that it will, once again, be used for educational purposes”

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
A first-round pass means the project meets HLF criteria for funding and HLF believes the project has potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money.

The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.

On occasion, an applicant with a first-round pass will also be awarded development funding towards the development of their scheme.

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.7billion across the UK.

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