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V&A and Liverpool museumswin latest HLF awards

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A trio of museums in Liverpool, and the British Galleries at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, are the major beneficiaries in the latest round of awards from the Heritage Lottery Fund. A total of £55.83 million has been awarded to 99 projects, with many of the grants going to small-scale church restoration projects and improvements to historic environments.

In contrast, the hlf has also given £23.97 million (only £1 million less than its largest ever grant) to the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside for upgrading and co-ordinating the spaces and collections of three major institutions: the Liverpool Museum and Walker Art Gallery (both on the same street but not connected) and the Museum of Liverpool Life in the Albert Dock Conservation Area. Lead architect for this project, which has a total value of £33.7 million, is Law & Dunbar-Nasmith.

And £15 million has gone to the Victoria & Albert Museum for the re-ordering and re-presentation of the British Galleries, which account for 10 per cent of its total gallery space. The design team comprises Dinah Casson working with David Mlinaric, an expert on historic interiors, with architectural work by Alistair Gourlay. Total cost of the project is £31 million.

These two awards may seem encouraging to those who feared that no more large awards would be forthcoming from hlf, but director Anthea Case has emphasised that they were given for the improvement of existing collections rather than the creation of a new facility. 'Both of these museum projects focus particularly on increasing people's access to their world-class collections, and increasing their enjoyment of them,' she said.

Other notable awards include: £684,000 towards the restoration by Glasgow- based Brooke, Millar and Peden of the Category A-listed St Patrick's Church, Kilsyth, near Glasgow, designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia and built in 1964; £70,000 for the purchase of a Mackintosh Houshill Chair by the University of Glasgow museum; and nearly £1 million toward the final phase of restoration of the Grade A Strathleven House in Dumbarton as an Enterprise Centre.

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