Lottery fund gives pounds 6.5m to display historic US aircraft

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The Independent Online

Arts Reporter

The Heritage Lottery Fund, charged with conserving Britain's heritage, yesterday gave pounds 6.5m to the Imperial War Museum for the display of American military aircraft from the Second World War.

The lottery money will help fund a building designed by Sir Norman Foster for US planes at RAF Duxford in Cambridgeshire, a branch of the museum which is home to 140 historic British, German and US aircraft.

Ted Inman, director at Duxford, said yesterday that the new pounds 11m building would free more space for the exhibition of the museum's 90 British aircraft. "The housing in the new building of the American aircraft will release space in five other hangars for British aircraft, which are currently outside, where they are liable to corrode and deteriorate."

The second largest grant announced yesterday in the third round of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund was pounds 3m to allow the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art to buy the art collection of the late Sir Roland Penrose, who died 11 years ago.

This includes three Picassos, a celebrated collage by Max Ernst, seven paintings by Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Andre Masson, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy and Paul Delvaux, and a rare portfolio of 15 surrealist drawings.

Lord Rothschild, who chairs the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "The Scottish National Gallery will now possess one of the most important collections of surrealist art in the world and the collection will form part of a major centre for surrealism in Scotland."

A further pounds 1.5m was divided into 17 grants, including a pounds 40,000 award to Norfolk Museum Service to excavate and preserve the fossil skeleton of an elephant which roamed Britain 600,000 years ago. The fossil, embedded in cliffs at West Runton, is threatened by erosion.

A pounds 50,000 award to St Neots Museum in Cambridgeshire will help fund the conversion of the town's former magistrates court - which still possesses Victorian cells, wooden pillows and an exercise yard - into a community museum.

A grant of pounds 75,000 will help convert one of Britain's earliest brick buildings, the Great Tower at Buckden, Huntingdon, into a centre for residential courses for young people.

Other grants were: All Saints Church, Narborough, pounds 23,000; Ancient India and Iran Trust, Cambridge, pounds 60,000; Kingston Museum, south-west London, pounds 104,887; Jones's Mill Nature Reserve, Pewsey, Wiltshire, pounds 75,147; British Coal Collection, Wakefield, pounds 69,077; Whitby Museum, Whitby, pounds 40,000; Ellerton Church, York, pounds 104,410; Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, pounds 135,800; Glenavy Cruck Houses, Holywood, Co Down, pounds 59,500; Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh, pounds 11,800; Nasmyth Bridge, Almondell, pounds 202,315; Pollokshields Burgh Halls, Glasgow, pounds 400,000; Brecon Cathedral Heritage Centre, pounds 107,250; Llanrhidian Church, Gower, Swansea, pounds 34,250.