Heritage Lottery Fund award set to transform Whitworth Art Gallery

18 Feb 2011

The Whitworth Art Gallery, at The University of Manchester has been awarded £8million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards the long-awaited extension designed by leading architects MUMA.

The Whitworth extension
The Whitworth extension

This development will transform the gallery - one of The University of Manchester’s best-loved cultural treasures - creating a new experience that can be shared by visitors from across the local community with those coming from further afield.

At the heart of the project is an elegant 21st-century extension that will double the size of the public space at the gallery. An art garden will be created and new main entrance will welcome visitors directly from Whitworth Park.

A new North Wing will embrace the park, housing a Landscape Gallery where the Whitworth’s internationally important artworks will be displayed. Alongside this will be new study centre where visitors of all ages will be able to explore and learn about these wonderful collections. A promenade gallery will lead to the South Wing, comprising a new café and a Learning Studio opening into the art garden.

Exhibition spaces on the first floor will be revitalised, and the Edwardian staircases will be opened up creating a spectacular prelude to the Grand Hall. Three large barrel ceiling exhibition galleries will also increase the gallery space, including new windows that will open up views across Whitworth Park.

Over the last five years the number of visitors to the 120-year old Whitworth Art Gallery have doubled to 170,000.

This £12million development will open up a staggering 396m2 of new gallery space and doubling the artwork on display, whilst creating a beautiful and inspiring environment where visitors from near and far can enjoy these magnificent collections.

Director Maria Balshaw says of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant: “We are delighted to have this investment which will enable us to make our vision for the Whitworth a reality. We’ve been developing our plans for over three years and can’t wait to start on the real thing. The project will create a gallery that’s truly fit for the 21st century and which we know our visitors are going to love”.

Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said:“The Heritage Lottery Fund award will bring a vital transformation to the Whitworth Art Gallery, opening it up to the park and its neighbouring communities, and offering new opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy. The gallery will be revitalised, creating new spaces that will allow more of these magnificent collections to be shared with the public.”

Notes for editors

For media enquires contact
Roland Smith,
Communications Manager at Heritage Lottery Fund
020 7591 6047 / 07713 48 64 20


Mike Addelman,
Press Officer
Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester
0161 275 0790 / 07717 881567

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