At the beginning of March the Heritage Lottery Fund approved a grant of almost £1.7 million to Quality Guild member Haig Colliery Mining Museum for their Phase Two Powerhouse Development.
The Heritage Lottery Fund will release this money in two stages, first a development grant and then the main grant for the building development.
Together with the other secured funding:-
£1.2 million from West Lakes Renaissance, £838,000 from English Partnerships, and significant contributions from West Cumbria Development Fund and Copeland Borough Council, the £4.5 million project is well on its way to being secured.
A 9 month detailed design phase will now begin with the first job being the removal of the historical problem of Asbestos in the former colliery cellars, releasing these areas to the design team to ensure the most effective use of the building as a visitor attraction, community facility, mining museum and an asset to the area of South Whitehaven.
The new facility will not only have a Coal Mining Museum within the Steam Engine House but will also have an extensive library and archive of mining text, maps and footage, there will be educational resources and family learning areas, together with an integrated programme of activities that will see exhibitions, performance and music in the large Powerhouse Hall.
There will be rentable space for commercial use which will bring in the sustainable element of the project, and there will also be the fantastic rooftop Cafe/Bar area. With the external restoration of the only remaining coal winding headgear in the region, and the conservation of the two original steam winding engines within the building,
The amount of work that has gone into the submission of the Heritage Lottery Grant is testament to the dedication to this project of the Board of Directors, the staff and volunteers, and this is a major achievement for a small independent charity.
It is likely that no physical work will be seen to the building itself until into 2009, following a re assessment by Heritage Lottery Fund next year.
Pamela Telford, Manager of Haig Colliery Mining Museum, said:
“We are absolutely delighted at this major step forward, which is testament to the hard work of the board, staff and volunteers.
We are also very grateful for the ongoing support from the local community, and look forward to delivering a mining museum to make Whitehaven proud."
Bob Metcalf, Chair of Haig Colliery Mining Museum, added: “This is the first stage in creating a meaningful and vibrant facility for the local community which will reflect the historic importance of the coal mining industry in West Cumbria and enable the local community to use the building to full advantage.
“The award reflects the hard work of everyone at the museum and also the commitment of our partners including English Partnerships, Copeland Borough Council, the National Trust, West Cumbria Development Fund, West Lakes Renaissance and the Land Reclamation Trust.”