Room to grow for Cleveland’s ironstone legacy thanks to National Lottery grant

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum has been awarded initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund

Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum has been awarded initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £800,000 of investment for Room to Grow, the museum’s landmark project set to bring expansion, employment and tourism to Skinningrove’s Iron Valley.

With popular demand for the museum’s heritage and education services more than doubling in the past four years, the project aims to redevelop and expand the museum buildings. Development funding of £32,400 has also been awarded to review the museum’s organisation, marketing and management; to design the new museum space; and to implement changes and training in preparation for the museum’s exciting future. The museum will apply for the full grant at a later date.

The Room to Grow project will transform the existing facilities, introducing new exhibition spaces to display the museum’s burgeoning collection. The large museum space will offer visitors greater and more varied content through permanent and temporary arts and history exhibitions as well as live performances. Environmentally controlled storage, workshops and visitor study rooms will help conserve the museum’s diverse and intricate range of historical artefacts, ensuring the preservation of Cleveland’s ironstone legacy for future generations. Larger educational facilities will allow the museum to cater for the growing demand from schools across the region.

Commenting on the award, Gill Boag-Monroe, Chair of Trustees, said:

“We are delighted to have the support of the HLF behind this monumental project which will ensure the preservation of our nationally significant collection for posterity, bringing jobs and tourism into the area and a substantial boost to the local economy.”

Situated on the site of Loftus Mine, the first mine to be opened in Cleveland, the Mining Museum celebrates the legacy of ironstone mining and the broader industrial heritage of the region. The Tees Valley was the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire. Its 83 ironstone mines supplied iron used worldwide; forming the fabric of railways and bridges across Europe, America, Africa, India and Australia.

Graham Banwell, Room to Grow Project Manager, said:

“The new museum will showcase the story of Britain’s industrial heritage, creating a more sustainable and visitor-friendly museum with far more to offer in terms of education and research facilities.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said:

“On the site of Cleveland’s first and longest standing ironstone mine, CIMM tells the story of the industry from its peak production period to its subsequent decline – resulting in the largest collection of ironstone mining heritage in the country. Thanks to National Lottery players we’re delighted to support this project which will provide much-needed space and opportunities for visitors and volunteers and build on the legacy of the dedicated group of volunteers and ex-miners who opened the museum over three decades ago. We look forward to seeing the plans develop.”

In order to secure the full award of £800,000 from HLF, the museum is in the process of raising match funding of £700,000 through charitable trusts and foundations as well as generous donations from individuals. If successful, construction is set to begin in January 2017.