Derby Silk Mill

New economic strategy for the Midlands will provide extra funding for museums

Nicola Sullivan, 16.03.2017
Derby Silk Mill, Nottingham Castle and the Warwick Arts Centre are among the beneficiaries
A number of museums, cultural venues and heritage sites will receive additional funding as a result of the government’s new economic strategy for the Midlands.

The Midlands Engine Strategy, published a day after last week’s budget, sets out £392m investment in skills, connectivity and local growth. This will be distributed via 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) across the region, and will be used to support a number of regeneration and cultural projects. 

D2N2 – the LEP for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – has been allocated £62.99m. Derby City Council has applied for £21.7m of this, including £3.6m for the redevelopment of the Derby Silk Mill and the creation of a new museum at the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
Although the council hasn’t been given official confirmation of the amount it will receive the Midlands Engine Strategy report stated that more than £2m would go towards the redevelopment of the new museum.

The project, which is being supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Derby City Council, is expected to cost £16.4m. The new museum, which will open in 2020, will celebrate Derby’s heritage as a city of makers and provide opportunities for local people to gain new skills.
“The concept behind the museum is that it explores 300 years of making in Derby at the site of the world’s first factory – the Derby Silk Mill,” said Tony Butler, the director of Derby Museums.
“We hope to inspire the makers of the future and face the challenges of the 21st century in the context of climate change and a range of other social and political challenges.”

Commenting of the significance of the Midlands Engine Strategy, Butler said: “If you look at the other things that are being funded it is great that is culture is up there alongside infrastructural and business programmes. It shows that cultural activity is essential for driving civic spaces. It is good that this is being recognised.”

The Midlands Engine strategy has also allocated £8m to regenerate town centres across Nottinghamshire and redevelop Nottingham Castle; £2m to improve cultural infrastructure in Coventry and Warwickshire, including the redevelopment and expansion of the Warwick Arts Centre; and £0.5m for a new visitor centre at Sherwood Forest and improvements to existing walking and cycling routes at the site.