Lake District UNESCO bid

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Funding boost for World Heritage art project

17 April 2018

It feels like the Lake District is riding on the crest of the wave and this is great news for culture and our visitors. 

March was a magnificent month for our wonderful region - and especially successful for the arts. 

I was lucky enough to be present when Prince Charles was in Keswick to unveil the official UNESCO plaque in Crow Park. The look of pride was evident on faces both young and old.

As His Royal Highness spoke about his love of the Lakes and its unique cultural landscape, cultural bodies were learning of a major funding boost.

The World Heritage Lake District Project, led by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Lakeland Arts and Wordsworth Trust, was successful in winning £3.29million. 

The cash injection, from the Government’s Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund, is designed to showcase the north of England. 

This funding is a win for culture in Cumbria, World Heritage and our visitors. 

There are great opportunities ahead - to build our local audiences and also attract first-time-visitors to our lakes, fells, galleries and museums. 

The World Heritage Lake District Project will see funding go towards the major refurbishment of Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal and enhance the visitor experience at the under-construction Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories.

It has been 30 years since the last major development of Abbot Hall, and it is in need of significant modernisation. The rejuvenation of this riverside site will realise full potential of our collections and develop a world-class cultural experience for visitors.

Lakeland Arts is due to open Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories later this year. Designed by Carmody Groarke architects, this will be a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere and will display an internationally important collection of boats.

It’s all hands on deck as the team at Lakeland Arts creates this new museum while also being at planning stages to refurbish another. And while we are in a period of change and challenge - we feel proud to part of this movement to make the Lake District a player on the international stage.

We have had a Monet masterpiece on show at Abbot Hall for the last couple of months. His iconic Haystacks: Snow Effect painting has attracted thousands of visitors in three months. 

While it’s been fantastic to welcome new audiences - both young and old - to the gallery, the emotional response to the painting has been wonderful. 

One person wrote in our visitors’ book: “I absolutely love art and this experience has made me love art even more” while another said: “The most amazing experience to view this beautiful painting in my home town. Thank-you so much.”

We have to build on this feeling, that culture here in the Lake District as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has the power to inspire, surprise, educate and make people think.  

About the author

Lakeland Arts

Liz Moss, Chief Operating Officer at Lakeland Arts