The Harris To Receive £803,249 In Funding

The Council owned Harris is among more than 60 galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues to receive the Government’s Cultural Investment Fund (CIF)

Awarded through the Museums Estate and Development Fund (MEND) strand, this award will enable the Harris to undertake urgent stonework repairs to the deteriorating façade of the building, in addition to works already being undertaken as part of the £10m National Lottery Heritage Fund project.

Galleries, museums, libraries and cultural venues across the country, including the Harris, are to benefit from almost £50 million of funding which will improve people’s access to the arts, safeguard cultural assets for future generations and power economic growth through culture.

The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in Preston, Lancashire has been awarded a grant of £803,249 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, delivered by Arts Council England. 

The Harris is a Grade I listed building, and the jewel in Preston’s crown. The MEND funding complements the existing Harris Your Place capital project to re-imagine and preserve the Harris for future generations. In 2021, the Harris temporarily closed to the public to begin its major capital project.

The restoration will make the Harris more welcoming and inclusive, with structural works and layout improvements to the Grade I listed building, creating a world-class cultural attraction and community hub fit for the 21st century. With the support of National Lottery Heritage Fund the Harris was able to commence work on an initial £10m scheme, increasing to £12.4m with the addition of Towns Fund investment and grants from Garfield Weston Foundation and Wolfson Foundation. This latest £803,249 award marks another significant milestone in delivery of the project, bringing the total to £13.2m. This enables repairs to the external stonework of the building to be completed alongside Harris Your Place, in time for the planned re-opening in spring 2024. 

The generous support from the MEND fund allows the project to extend the scope of works and further invest in improving the Harris, carrying out additional works to the second floor and basement that were originally outside the scope of the £10m project. This is great news for Prestonians and visitors to the city who will be able to enjoy an enhanced cultural attraction and civic hub.

At almost 130 years old, the Harris is tired. It isn’t as accessible as it should be for everyone who needs it. Conservation is needed to reveal currently hidden original architectural details and to tackle the leaking roof and damp basement which pose a threat to preserving the Harris’ collections. The Harris Your Place project, along with this additional support of the MEND funding will allow us to preserve the much loved building. 

Harris Your Place is, of course, much more than just preserving the building and as our way of life changes ever more quickly, we need to ensure the Harris remains a vibrant heart of the community, where people want to spend their time.

While work is carried out to our beloved building, visitors are able to enjoy our continued library service and range of Harris activities at our Home-from-home in Preston’s Guild Hall and pop ups across the city. 



Tedd Walmsley

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