Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre gets green light - Museums Association

Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre gets green light

Work on £100m project will start later this year following planning consent
Holocaust
Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre
Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Construction will start later this year on a £100m Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London, the UK Government has announced.

The project, which will be created in Westminster's Victoria Tower Gardens, next to Parliament, won planning permission last week. It is expected to open in 2025 and entry will be free.

The Holocaust Memorial will honour the 6 million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered in the Holocaust, and other victims of Nazi persecution, including the Roma, gay and disabled people. The co-located Learning Centre will also address subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “The Holocaust is part of our shared history that everyone should know about and remember, and I’m proud that this UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is going to be built at the very heart of our democracy.”

Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott said: “Holocaust survivors like me came to the UK after liberation, and we made Britain our home; British forces liberated my sister at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The Holocaust is part of British history. I am proud that the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre is being built, in the heart of our country, so it can be visited by millions.”

The government announced in January 2016 that the memorial was to be located at Victoria Tower Gardens. After an international competition with 92 entries and 10 finalists, Adjaye Associates, Ron Arad Architects and Gustafson Porter + Bowman were selected as the scheme’s design team in October 2017.

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The government will contribute up to £75m towards construction costs, to be supplemented by £25m from charitable donations.

There have been a number of objections to the scheme, including from Westminster city council, which said that while it supported the principle of a memorial and learning centre in central London, the project in Victoria Tower Gardens contravened planning rules on size, design and location.

Some local community groups, Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors also raised objections at an inquiry held last year.

Earlier in the process, Imperial War Museums (IWM) was keen to become the home of the memorial and learning centre. After the government chose a more central location, IWM expressed concern that a new centre risked diluting the public offer on learning about the Holocaust.

A spokesman for the IWM said the two institutions would now “work together to present complimentary narratives” in order to avoid dividing the public offer.

“We are confident that our offer as a museum and the national collection for the Holocaust will be very different to that of the Memorial and Learning Centre,” he said.

The IWM's redeveloped Holocaust Galleries are due to open at its London site on 20 October.

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