Restoration projects win £15m lottery grant

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The Independent Online

A Victorian music hall, historic gardens and two Grade II listed museums have won a share of more than £15m funding for restoration projects, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced today

The Canterbury Beaney institute in Kent has been given a £5.98m grant to conserve and extend the Grade II listed museum, art gallery and library named after its benefactor JG Beaney.

Leeds City Varieties Music Hall, West Yorkshire, is to get £2.7m to restore the Grade II listed venue, and create a home for an archive of leaflets, handbills, posters and photos of past performers - including Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini.

Antrim Castle Gardens is to receive £3.35m, one of the largest grants the Heritage Lottery Fund has provided in Northern Ireland.

The funding will go towards a £6m restoration of the late 17th century gardens.

And Preston Hall Museum at Stockton-on-Tees, which tells the story of domestic life in the town over the past two centuries, will receive £3.58m for major restoration work at the Grade II listed building set in acres of parkland.

Heritage Lottery Fund chairwoman Jenny Abramsky said: "This is a huge investment in four very different projects - a vibrant music hall, a unique 17th century garden, an elegant historic building and a much-loved museum.

"These types of projects are the backbone of the UK's heritage with a focus very much on local people and the unique stories of their communities."

The Heritage Lottery Fund also gave initial support for four other projects which will allow them to draw up development plans before a final funding decision is made.

The four schemes given initial backing are at the Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland, Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Cardigan Castle in Ceredigion.