Plans to revamp Preston’s Harris Museum have scooped £4.5m in lottery funding

The ambitious scheme to transform the city landmark has been awarded the final cash it needed from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

By Sean Gleaves
Thursday, 25th March 2021, 11:02 am

The grant joins a further £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. Local people have also donated.

The #HarrisYourPlace project will make the Grade I-listed Harris the UK’s first blended museum, art gallery and library and make the building more accessible to welcome an additional 100,000 visitors per year.

Due to commence in autumn 2021, works will return the building to its original splendour and reveal some of the Harris’ original architectural details which have previously been hidden.

Works will return the building to its original splendour and reveal some of the Harris’ original architectural details.

Coun Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Culture at Preston 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.

“A huge number of people, from the city and county councils, partners, volunteers, community groups and many, many local people, have given incredible amounts of time and energy to make sure these plans are just right for our treasured Harris.”

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This is how Lancashire looked in 2005
It is hoped the the #HarrisYourPlace project will create more family-friendly spaces and welcome people who wouldn’t have thought of visiting a museum.

The transformation will allow more of the Harris’ extensive collections and there will be newly-created spaces for children, young people and community groups.

David Renwick, Area Director for the North, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says: “It is fantastic news that thanks to the National Lottery players, we have been able to support the #HarrisYourPlace project in ensuring that these amazing collections are preserved and made more accessible for local communities and visitors to learn more about Preston’s rich heritage.

“We know that heritage in the North can play a huge role in bringing people together and in turn boosting the local economy. The project team has worked hard to engage a wide range of different audiences and this project will open up opportunities for people of all communities to explore/celebrate the past and create stories for the future.”

Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “The pandemic has shown just how important welcoming, safe, cultural and community spaces are, and #HarrisYourPlace will ensure that that this wonderful asset can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Works will begin in autumn 2021 and are due for completion in 2024.

“With the fantastic support of all our funders, who include the generous people of Preston, Lancashire and beyond, we can ensure that the Harris continues to be a vibrant, thriving space for people to learn, explore, come together and feel very much welcome, whoever they are.”

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