Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens secures £349,000 in funding for urgent roof repairs

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens has secured £349,000 in funding towards vital repairs to its roof and stonework.

The funding from the Arts Council England Cultural Investment Fund – MEND – Museum Estates and Investment Fund will allow urgent repairs to be carried out on the oldest part of the Grade II listed museum, which was the first publicly funded museum outside London and dates back to 1879.

Sunderland City Council is planning to match fund the Arts Council funding with £116,000 from its own funds to bring the total investment in the repairs to £465,000.

Councillor Linda Williams, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City at Sunderland City Council, said: We’re delighted to have secured this vital funding to carry out urgent roof and stonework repairs on the Museum and Winter Gardens.

“This is all about ensuring the long term preservation of one of our most loved listed buildings for future generations to enjoy, retaining and enhancing its historic significance as a landmark building within the city.

“It also fits perfectly with our exciting plans for the multi million pound transformation of Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens which would see the museum re-energised and rejuvenated in line with what our residents and visitors have told us they want to see. We’re currently working up detailed proposals on these having received initial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund just before Christmas with the intention of applying for full grant funding next year.”

A costed condition survey on the Museum & Winter Gardens prepared in March 2022 highlighted areas of significant deterioration in the roof, stonework, leadwork and drainage to the original 1879 part of the museum. As this is the most historically and architecturally significant part of the building it is seen as a priority for investment in advance of the larger lottery funded refurbishment plans.

The repairs will address urgent condition issues within the listed building, preserving its historic fabric and preventing further loss, and addressing water ingress issues.

Rebecca Ball, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture, which delivers the creative programme in Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens said: “We are delighted that Sunderland City Council has been awarded this grant to carry out much needed repairs on such an important and cherished part of the city’s cultural offer. This fund from Arts Council England, together with their investment into Sunderland Culture, and the council’s plans for a multi-million pound transformation of the building, means the Museum will continue to delight and inspire residents and visitors to Sunderland in the future.”

Work on the urgent repairs is due to start on site by September and be completed early next year.