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Fresh cash injection raises hopes for Whitechapel Art Gallery extension plans

Proposals for the extension of the Whitechapel Art Gallery by lesser-known Belgium practice Robbrecht en Daem took a major step forward yesterday.

Fundraisers have persuaded three major organisations - the Foyle Foundation, the European Regional Development Fund and the Bridge House Trust - to hand over the best part of £1 million.

This new injection of cash brings the total raised to £7.5 million, with the £10 million target getting ever closer.

Robbrecht en Daem's planned expansion (pictured) will include moving galleries into the neighbouring Passmore Edwards library building - which will itself move to a new home in Mile End.

There are also proposals to build a street-level restaurant, expand the bookshop and provide public access to the gallery's archive for the first time in its 100-year history.

Whitechapel Gallery director Iwona Blazwick was clearly delighted with the fresh investment.

'These new funds bring the current total to over £7.5 million of the Whitechapel's £10 million target for the realisation of our plans to incorporate the Passmore Edwards Library next to the Gallery into the new scheme,' she said.

by Ed Dorrell

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