The Shroud Room, sewing machines in front of windows

Coffin Works Museum awarded a £101,989 grant from DCMS

The Coffin Works is one of 26 museums nationwide to receive a Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) grant!

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) sponsors a number of non-departmental public bodies to help deliver national priorities relating to digital, culture, media and sport. Those with responsibility for sectors covered by MEND include: Arts Council England, National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England. This particular grant is administered, awarded and monitored by Arts Council England.

The purpose of the Museum Estate and Development Fund is to enable museums across the country to deliver a better experience for visitors and staff, make access and environmental improvements, unlock income-generating opportunities, and continue to protect treasured buildings and collections for future generations.

We’re pleased to say that our grant for a number of environmental measures at the museum, including secondary glazing was successful. The secondary glazing will be installed on the front of the building from the museum shop up to the top floor to increase energy efficiency and comfort of volunteers, visitors and our Accredited collection.

In addition, the grant will fund UV-filtering film on the north range of the building to improve conditions for tenants in the warmer months of the year, as well as a wireless environmental monitoring system.

The original Victorian factory windows were designed to let light into the building and while they are a stunning feature of the Newman Brothers’ Manufactory, they aren’t great at keeping heat inside the building. With the help of sympathetic secondary glazing we will give the windows a helping hand.


Sarah Hayes, Museum Director said:

“The transformative impact of this grant for the museum cannot be underestimated.  Secondary glazing will be a game changer for us with multiple benefits for visitors, volunteers and our collection. With rising energy prices, we’ve had to regulate energy in a way that wasn’t always comfortable or ideal for our volunteers or our collection. Installing secondary glazing is going to allow us to control costs and environmental conditions, saving us up to 35% on energy bills! For me, this is the joy of the job; finding solutions to what can seem like impossible problems in order to preserve our heritage. This is a massive achievement and unless you’re ‘in it’, it’s hard to explain how important this grant is to us. Over the last year and a half our energy costs have placed a strain on the museum never seen before. Huge thanks to DCMS, Historic England and Arts Council for making this possible for us. Without this fund, the environmental improvements we want to make would be cost prohibitive.”

Chair of Trustees, Benjamin Parker added:

“We are proud of everything that has been achieved through the rescue of the Newman Brothers Coffin Works site. Since opening in 2014, from dereliction the space has become home to creative businesses, our fantastic staff and volunteer team, welcoming thousands of visitors every year. But, we are aware that the building is not fixed in time, and know improved environmental performance is critical to both the site’s sustainability and our operations as a whole. We are very grateful to the Museum Estate and Development Fund for enabling us to take pro-active steps in equipping our historic building for a sustainable future.”

Much of the north range will have UV-filtering film installed to reduce heat and solar gain, making the units more comfortable for tenants in the warmer months.

The work we’ll be undertaking will make our museum building stronger and more sustainable for the future, by tackling an urgent maintenance and repair backlog, which is why our grant project is aptly named: ‘Addressing the Backlog; Future-proofing the Coffin Works’. The museum will not close during the installation phase over the summer, but instead visits and work will be managed in tandem. This will give visitors, volunteers and staff a rare opportunity to see some of the behind-the-scenes conservation in action taking place.

Sarah Hayes, Museum & Trust Director

Monday, 25.03.24




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