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White House Glass Cone fit out to start

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The White House Glass Cone is moving one step closer to opening as a museum thanks to cash from National Lottery Heritage Fund to fit out the venue’s interior.

The British Glass Foundation and Dudley Council worked together on the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund which will see £980,000 invested in an internal fit out of the museum, creating a worthy home for the borough’s highly acclaimed glass collection which was formerly housed at Broadfield House Glass Museum.

This is the second successful bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, an initial grant of £142,000 in 2015 covered the development of a business and project development plan. It follows on from a significant earlier investment in 2013 of £2.15m from the European Regional Development Fund proposed by Complex Development Ltd (CDP), the owner of the site. The ERDF funding allowed for the restoration of the dilapidated canal-side buildings that once formed the Stuart Works glass factory to create a space for the new museum, a number of new business units and 18 residential units.

This second grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, alongside funding from Dudley Council and other benefactors will convert the building, supplied by Complex Development Projects Ltd, from functional but bare industrial unit into a creative and welcoming visitor attraction.

The fit out which will transform the ground and first floor galleries is set to include permanent displays looking at the history of the people, products and processes associated with glass production. There will be a flexible activity and learning space for seminars, talks and school visits.

The hot glass blowing studio which was a popular feature at Broadfield House Glass Museum will be reinstated and the wider space used for various community-led events and workshops. A temporary exhibition space will enable more of the collection to be put on display in a series of changing exhibitions and will also allow the display of items loaned from other museums and galleries.

Once the fit out is complete, the new White House Cone Museum of Glass is set to open in 2021.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise at Dudley Council, said:

This is excellent news and the result of a lot of hard work from everyone involved in this project.
This is another important stepping stone in creating a visitor attraction in the heart of such an important area for the glass making industry, which we hope will welcome people from all over the world.

Anne Jenkins, Director of England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players this wonderful glass collection can now go on permanent display for the communities of Stourbridge, and visitors from even further afield, to discover and enjoy.

Graham Knowles, Chairman of The British Glass Foundation said:

I am delighted for the people of Stourbridge and the wider community that, thanks to the Heritage Fund, we now have the resources to finally complete the “People’s Museum.” Their support has been fantastic and this award now gives us confidence that we will attain our goal of providing a new home for the internationally renowned Stourbridge glass collection. Despite all the difficulties and delays, with the resolve of the Trustees and our supporters, we now have the funding to enable us to fit out the display areas and tell the remarkable stories of people involved in the glass making industry.
I would like to thank everyone for their support but I am particularly grateful to Dudley Council which has been absolutely crucial in helping secure this funding. They remain a key player in our plans and we look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship. I would also like to thank Ian Harrabin MBE Managing Director of Complex Development Projects Limited for his generosity which will ensure that the new museum, due to open in 2021, is sustainable in the long term for future generations.

For more information on the work of the British Glass Foundation and to keep up to date with the project visit www.britishglassfoundation.org.uk

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