The Museum is delighted to have been awarded £224,500 from the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund as part of its £4 million grant for English Museums and Galleries.
The funds will enable us to immediately begin an exciting project to reconstruct two significant but currently dismantled historic buildings – the Newdigate Bakery and Eastwick Park Dairy – here at the Museum!
Once re-erected, they will be used to showcase heritage food production for our visitors.
With its origins in the 17th century, the Newdigate Bakery is from the village of Newdigate, near Dorking, in Surrey. It housed an extensive Victorian bakery when it was dismantled in the 1980s.
Its reconstruction will give the Museum a working historic bakery in which to demonstrate the art of baking. The Museum’s ultimate aim is to supply goods made from its own wheat, harvested by its own Shire horses, threshed and milled on site (using its 17th century watermill).
This unusual – originally thatched – model dairy from the Eastwick Park Estate in Surrey dates from circa 1807. It comprises two octagonal brick buildings linked by a covered walkway.
Its restoration and reinstatement at the Museum will offer another working building linked to food production, where traditional dairying techniques can be demonstrated.
This exciting new project will develop our educational programme, be a delight for visitors and grow the accessibility of our collections.
The DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund award goes a long way towards meeting the project costs, leaving us with £75,000 to raise, to enable the completion of the project.
We aim to achieve via a robust fundraising campaign. Those individuals and trusts interested in contributing toward the project should contact the Museum.
It is our plan to begin the project in summer 2017.
Martin Purslow, CEO at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded £224,500 from DCMS/Wolfson towards this project. Rebuilding two historic structures that are focused on the heritage production of food will significantly enhance our education programme at the Museum. With the popularity of baking in particular, they will also add considerably to the Museum experience for our visitors.”
Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said:
“Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions. We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.”
“I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.”
Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said:
“This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding. The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections. From Egyptian mummies in Leicester to a Roman fort on Tyneside, this is a gloriously diverse set of projects – but all demonstrate excellence and all will improve the visitor experience.
“In announcing these awards I also want to pay tribute to Giles Waterfield. He was a brilliant advisor to the programme from its inception and sparkled at an expert panel meeting in the very week in which he tragically and unexpectedly died. We all owe him a great deal.”
The Wolfson Foundation (www.wolfson.org.uk) is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities.
It has awarded over £800 million (£1.7 billion in real terms) to some 10,000 projects across the UK, all on the basis of expert peer review. Established in 1955, the Wolfson Foundation celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015.