Hereford museum revamp given £5m National Lottery funding boost

Hereford museum revamp given £5m National Lottery funding boost
Hereford Museum and Art Gallery has been awarded £5m by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (PA)

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £5 million to plans to redevelop Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, creating a permanent home for a hoard of medieval coins and jewellery found in the county in 2015.

The funding, coupled with £8 million from Herefordshire Council and £5 million from the Government’s Stronger Towns Fund, will create eight new galleries and display spaces, including one showcasing the Herefordshire Hoard, which was unearthed near Leominster.

In a statement confirming the £5 million award issued on Tuesday, the National Lottery Heritage Fund said the project will significantly enhance Hereford’s cultural offer.

The Herefordshire Hoard, one of the most significant early medieval treasures ever discovered in Britain, is a collection of coins and jewellery dating to the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period which was found by two metal detectorists.

Herefordshire Hoard coinsCoins from the Herefordshire Hoard (National Lottery Heritage Fund/PA)

Instead of reporting the find they sold most items to dealers with the intention of keeping the proceeds for themselves, but were prosecuted, and both jailed in 2019.

Experts believe 29 rare coins, mostly of Alfred the Great of Wessex and Ceolwulf II of Mercia, suggest the hoard was buried in around 878.

A silver ingot, a beast’s head gold bracelet, a rock crystal pendant and a gold ring were also recovered, but numerous other items were illegally dispersed and have not been recovered.

The museum renovation plans also feature a temporary exhibition space, the restoration of the historic Woolhope Club Room, and new commercial areas including a retail space and a rooftop cafe.

A viewing beacon and roof terrace will be accessible from the fifth floor courtyard space of the revamped building, providing 360-degree views over the city and surrounding area.

Hereford MuseumPlans for the revamped museum (National Heritage Lottery Fund/PA)

Damian Etheraads, museum and gallery lead at Herefordshire Council, said: “We are delighted to receive funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

“Through the generous support of our funders we will be able breathe new life into the museum and art gallery.

“We are looking forward to building an institution for the 21st century that celebrates diversity, fosters creativity and sparks curiosity.

“The new museum and art gallery will transform Herefordshire’s cultural landscape by putting people, the environment and sustainability at the heart of what we do.”

Robyn Llewellyn, the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s director of Midlands and East, said: “This funding, which has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will significantly enhance the city’s cultural offer, ensuring that heritage projects represent and reflect local communities.

“I am delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting Hereford Museum and Art Gallery with its ambitious plans for its redevelopment.”

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