Aldeburgh Museum Wins Heritage Lottery Funding
Suffolk’s Aldeburgh Museum, housed in the 16th century timber-framed Moot Hall and home to artefacts from the oldest Anglo Saxon ship burial, has been awarded initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to begin a comprehensive redevelopment.
HLF initial funding of £77,000 will enable development work to start early in 2017. This will involve finalising plans for major improvements to the presentation of the Collections, with the aim of significantly enhancing the visitor experience and creating a successful heritage destination. The museum will then apply for a full grant of £824,600 at a later date.
Welcoming the HLF award, Tony Bone, Chair of the Museum’s Trustees said: “The HLF funding will enable us to realise our vision to be an inspiring and progressive local museum that actively engages all age groups with the rich heritage of Aldeburgh and its surroundings.
“The Moot Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Britain to be continuously used for its original purpose of local governance. With our partner, Aldeburgh Town Council, we will be able to make this ancient working building both a Museum and a Council Chamber fit for the 21st Century”.
The Mayor of Aldeburgh, Councillor John Digby said “Aldeburgh Town Council as owner and custodian of the historic Moot Hall, is delighted to be working with the Museum Trustees on this exciting project, to better showcase both this interesting building and its artefacts, displaying many aspects of the town’s history. Together, we are ready to undertake the considerable work involved to bring a successful project to fruition.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England, said: “A visually captivating and historically significant part of Aldeburgh, Moot Hall and the collections housed there are not currently getting the attention they deserve. This project aims to change that – bringing more visitors through its doors and using digital technology to overcome space limitations and allow even more stories to be told.
“This is an exciting first step and we’re pleased to support these plans, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, and look forward to its bright future.”
Plans for the museum include:
- engaging and professionally designed presentations and displays,
- improved lighting and clearer labelling,
- improved visitor access and coherent orientation,
- digital technology to provide a dynamic approach to content, film, illustrations and photography.
The Museum is also planning an outreach programme to further the educational aspects of the Museum’s work and research through events and changing displays.
Invitations to tender for proposals to take forward the Museum’s redevelopment will be issued shortly.
These proposals will be subject to HLF review at the end of the development stage in 2018. HLF will then decide whether to award further funding for full implementation. Assuming the redevelopment work gets approval, completion is expected in 2019.
The Museum contains archaeological artefacts from Roman and Anglo Saxon times, and records from the Tudor period when the Moot Hall was built.
Its Collections will document Aldeburgh’s emergence from being an obscure fishing village to become a flourishing shipbuilding and trading centre, and later a celebrated seaside resort, home to a vibrant and eclectic artistic and literary community.
Throughout its history the town and its people have battled against erosion from the sea which the Museum will vividly depict.
Aldeburgh is synonymous with famous names such as Benjamin Britten who set his opera Peter Grimes there, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the pioneering physician and political campaigner. The Museum celebrates their lives and works together with those of other prominent local figures.
Notes to Editors
About Aldeburgh Museum
The Aldeburgh Museum is a registered charity run entirely by volunteers. It is based at the Moot Hall which is owned by Aldeburgh Town Council who hold monthly council and committee meetings in the upper chamber.
In a visitor survey conducted by the Museum in 2015 the Moot Hall itself was rated as the prime attraction.
The building was always referred to as the Town Hall in early records but, like so many other public buildings, became the Moot Hall at a later date. The word “Moot” derives from the Saxon word for “a meeting”.
The Museum will remain open to the public during its normal seasonal opening hours while the redevelopment progresses.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
*Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported
For further images and interviews please contact:
Tony Bone (Chair of Trustees)
Roger Williams (Trustee)