At the end of October, Ravenglass Railway Museum announced that they have been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in the following press release. This is excellent news, as it means the story of the 100 year old line, that I had the pleasure of visiting earlier in the year, will be told.
The Museum at the Lake District’s oldest heritage railway, Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, has received a confirmed grant of £488,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Renovation, Extension and Volunteer and Events programme. The project aims to restore and extend the existing museum at Ravenglass station, so that it can make a significant contribution to tourism, education and the community in the Western Lake District.
The project involves building a new exhibition area, more than doubling the existing space, in which to display the Railway’s vintage rolling stock, and will create exciting new interactive and accessible displays of Ravenglass and Eskdale documents and artefacts. It will also allow for digitisation of historic photographs within the collection and enable the Museum to tell more fully the story of the unique interaction between the Railway and the Eskdale Valley, focusing particularly on its historic connections to iron ore mining and quarrying.
Larger, significant items will now have a permanent and secure home that enables them to be put on display for the public’s enjoyment. These include two original 15″ gauge steam engines dating from 1912-15 (Synolda and Katie), a 19th century coach from the 3ft gauge era and granite tubs and other pieces of 20th century rolling stock.
The project will also create diverse learning opportunities for local schools, families and the Railway’s various communities, making the history of the Railway relevant to a larger and more diverse audience. Significant links to the history and geography curriculum will be of particular relevance to primary schools.
New volunteer opportunities will also become possible in restoration work and through interpretation roles within the extended museum, which has, to date, been a self-guided experience. A new museum website will tell the story of the Railway and the Eskdale Valley online and help attract extra visitors to the Western Lake District. The support of the HLF will enable the Eskdale (Cumbria) Trust which runs the Museum to preserve the Railway legacy and remain rooted in the local Western Lake District community, as the narrow gauge line has been for the last 100 years.
Peter Hensman from the Eskdale (Cumbria) Trust said: “This is magnificent support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We shall now be able, with additional assistance from the Preservation Society, to complete our development project, preserving the heritage of this much-loved railway and opening up new opportunities for visitors, volunteers and the local community.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Sara Hilton, said: “The museum extension will provide new insights into the rich history of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, and its interaction with the lives of those living in the local area since its arrival in the Western Lake District. Its fascinating collections will now become more engaging and accessible, whilst new learning opportunities will enable the museum to attract a diverse range of visitors. HLF are pleased to support this worthwhile project thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.”
For more information, please visit the railway’s website by clicking here.