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St George’s Bristol secures Heritage Lottery Fund grant

St George’s Bristol today announced it has secured initial support* for a £750,200 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) as part of its current ‘Building a Sound Future’ appeal, a £5.5 million capital project to reconfigure and extend the world class music venue.

Development funding of £24,800 has also been awarded to help St George’s Bristol progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

This new funding award will take the total raised for the ‘Building a Sound Future’ appeal to £3,500,000. This specific award from the HLF will be used to preserve, record and widen access to both the physical and cultural heritage of St George’s Bristol, a Grade II* listed venue, world renowned for its musical acoustics. This heritage project will help secure the long term future and financial sustainability of St George’s Bristol by:

  • Preserving its built heritage, reducing maintenance costs moving forward
  • Providing full access for all to the building for the first time
  • Re-configuring the crypt of the building to provide an engaging heritage interpretation space
  • Delivering a comprehensive plan of activity to engage current audiences and attract new visitors with the full heritage story of the historic building

Suzanne Rolt, Chief Executive, St George’s Bristol said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has committed its support to our ‘Building a Sound Future’ project.

“The building was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, the architect of the British Museum, and has been an integral part of the community since 1823. Now with a worldwide reputation as a music venue with outstanding acoustics, the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support will secure our heritage and extend our physical access and reputation for both current and future generations.”

This award forms part of St George’s Bristol overall ‘Building a Sound Future’ capital development project which sees the construction of a brand new extension to the building on Great George Street, improving and extending the core facilities of the venue which already hosts some two-hundred live music events each year.

The fundraising appeal was kick-started by an initial pledge of £1.95 million from Arts Council England and reached the halfway point towards the end of 2014 following major grants from the Garfield Weston Foundation, the J.Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust and the Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement. This latest contribution will take the appeal a major step closer to reaching its final target by the end of 2015.

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “As well as being a beloved local landmark, St George’s Bristol played an important role in Bristol’s social history. We look forward to seeing the plans develop to make this heritage a prominent and integral part of the exciting development plans for the building.”

Eye-catching plans unveiled…

This week Patel Taylor, the award-winning architects designing the bold new contemporary glass and stone extension, also revealed full drawings and striking 3D CAD imagery of external and internal designs at a public event held at St George’s.

The drawings, some first sample examples of which are attached here, illustrate the bold and visionary design. The benefits the extension will deliver include:

  • A bold new contemporary extension to the core building, providing new visitor entrances
  • Remodelling of all backstage and artist facilities
  • New garden facing café and bar
  • New education and workshop spaces
  • New step free access directly into the main hall for the first time

Initial ground works for the construction of the new extension will begin in spring 2016, with St George’s Bristol remaining open throughout the majority of the build. Completion is scheduled for autumn 2017.

Further major public and private sources of funds are currently in active negotiation and any interested parties should contact Simon Farley, Head of Fundraising & Development at St George’s Bristol via email: s.farley@stgeorgesbristol.co.uk or by telephone: 0117 929 4929 x205