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LEP Heritage team helps Powell-Cotton Museum receive £1.1m grant for vital repairs

Historical photographs from the Powell-Cotton Museum archive

Exciting News from the Heritage Team!

Our client’s application to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport MEND fund, administered by Arts Council England, has been successful, and the Powell-Cotton Museum has been awarded £1.1m. This significant investment marks a pivotal moment in preserving the Powell-Cotton Museum’s buildings and collections, and will ensure the preservation and upkeep of the museum’s historical artefacts for future generations to enjoy.

LEP Heritage plans to replace the failing flat glass-fibre roofs, ensuring the protection of the invaluable collection and displays. By removing unnecessary rooflights and making retained skylights watertight, we’re safeguarding these treasures from the damaging effects of water and moisture which have led to a collections care crisis in recent years.

The museum is named after Percy Powell-Cotton, whose remarkable dioramas are a testament to his passion for preserving natural history. The eight unique natural history dioramas are unparalleled in the UK for their size and quality. The Kashmir Diorama, completed in 1905, is understood to be Europe’s oldest untouched wildlife diorama.

Clare Valentine, Chair of Trustees, Powell-Cotton Trust says:

This grant from Arts Council England is so significant and transformational for the Powell-Cotton Museum. For years we have struggled to halt the water ingress into the building which creates damp and wet conditions, damaging the artefacts and displays due to the water, associated damp and mould. Replacing the complete museum roof will dramatically improve the conditions within the museum and allow us to repair the internal damaged caused by the leaks and in so doing improve the visitor experience.

Nigel Lewis, CEO, Powell-Cotton Museum says:

This grant will allow us to replace the old leaking roof on the museum building which will protect and preserve the collection for decades to come We are so grateful and excited to receive this funding from Arts Council England.

Works are scheduled to begin on site during the summer of 2024, with a winter break before continuing into Spring 2025. These repairs will ensure the long-term future of the museum building as a suitable location to house unique collections which hold huge value to communities located both near and far from the museum.

With this funding, we’re not just repairing roofs – we are preserving history and hopefully inspiring future generations.

Workers on site during construction in 1932


Repairs carried out in the 1950s


Temporary repairs on the roof


Blocked rooflights internally


The Powell-Cotton Museum


The Department for Culture, Media and Sport funds MEND which is administered by Arts Council England

Project Partners:

MacConvilles Chartered Surveyors

Caroline Taylor Consulting