The Strange Case of the Heritage Lottery Grant and the Vanishing Pub

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Curiouser and curiouser. It transpires that when, in May 2011, the Geffrye Museum was given £518,500 of ‘development’ funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – there were no plans to demolish the pub. Quite the contrary – the building was to be retained and integrated within the new scheme. As the museum’s own press release states:

‘A new restaurant will be located either in a new ‘pavilion’ building alongside the reception area or in the former Victorian pub on the corner of Cremer Street, which will be sensitively restored and extended. In either location the restaurant will have street access.’

This is important because it seems unlikely that the HLF would have made this grant if the museum’s plans had involved demolition. The museum has now changed its mind of course – and, ironically (cynically perhaps?), has used the development money to work up a new scheme involving the destruction of the pub. Sounds like a bit of a stitch up. The big question here is was the HLF misled?

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2 responses to “The Strange Case of the Heritage Lottery Grant and the Vanishing Pub

  1. I think the question should not be “was the HLF misled?” but should be “how could this happen and what procedures are in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again?” IMHO

  2. I wrote to the HLF: Simona Spoglianti, Senior Grants Officer of the
    Heritage Lottery Fund wrote back:

    “HLF gave initial support and development funding towards the Geffrye Museum’s ‘Museum of the Home’ project in April 2011, but has not yet made a full award. This project is currently still in its development phase, and we are aware that while the Museum initially proposed to retain the former Marquis of Lansdowne pub and considered a range of options for its re-use, it has now developed a scheme which does not retain the building.

    The amended scheme has been submitted for planning and listed building consents. HLF is continuing to encourage the Museum to engage the local community extensively over the coming months. We expect to receive a second-round funding application later this year, at which point proposals will be assessed in line with our usual process and our Board will decide whether or not to make the full award.”

    Make of it what you will: But they are saying that we locals need to be engaged….Please NOTE the “Now developed a scheme which does NOT retain the building” Hmmm… I wonder what scheme changing reason the museum gave for getting rid of it?

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