A funding package worth £7m has been agreed allowing construction to begin on a new Wedgwood Museum in the heart of the Potteries at the company’s Barlaston headquarters.
Some positive news for the Staffordshire Potteries, an industry subject to much economic gloom and doom in recent years, the 3000 sq m complex will house a collection of pottery, manuscripts, pattern books, paintings and a reference library, relating to arguably the most famous name in the British ceramics industry.
Aiming to attract 100,000 visitors a year once completed, it should help regenerate the North Staffordshire area and boost to its economy.
With this latest package, the The Wedgwood Museum Trust, the charity which is raising the money for this project, now has £9.8m towards the £10m costs.
The new complex, designed by local architects Hulme Upright and Mannin, will sit alongside Wedgwood’s existing visitor’ centre. Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd have donated the 99-year lease and are funding the site groundwork, which has already commenced, with the museum scheduled to open in September 2007.
The new museum will enable display of 60 per cent of the Wedgwood 8500-piece study collection that has been locked away in storage since the firm’s original museum closed six years ago.
The main contributors to the latest funding input are The Heritage Lottery Fund who have contributed £6m, Avantage West Midlands at £1m, Staffordshire Environment Trust at £100,000, and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport
and the Wolfson Foundation at £350,000.
There have also been substantial donations from the Wedgwood family and from Wedgwood collectors’ societies around the world.