The Coffin Works has been awarded £53,500 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary announced in November.
A ‘Heritage at Risk’ Success Story
The Coffin Works is the only surviving example of a purpose-built Victorian coffin furniture manufactory in the UK. There is no other example in the country and its state of preservation increases its unique status within the nation’s cultural heritage. This is recognised through its Grade-II* listed status.
Developed around the unique contents of the Grade II* Newman Brothers’ Coffin Fittings Manufactory, today the Coffin Works is a unique combination of museum, business tenants and events spaces – a rare hybrid model for independent museums. Its success is anchored on nearly 80 volunteers, from across a wide range of demographics who help make it possible to open its doors to the public.
It prides itself on the opportunities it offers to volunteers from all walks of life; students, the retired, unemployed people as well as work-based placements with local universities. The volunteers are at the heart if its diversity and the museum continues to be popular with both national and international visitors, consistently ranking in the top 3 ‘Museums in Birmingham’.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is more vital funding to protect cultural gems across the country, save jobs and prepare the arts to bounce back. Through Arts Council England we are delivering the biggest ever investment in the arts in record time. Hundreds of millions of pounds are already making their way to thousands of organisations.”
Sarah Hayes, Museum Manager at the Coffin Works said: “This grant means that we can guarantee salaries for the next six months and focus on re-building the museum once again.
It gives us the best chance of surviving this challenging period and it has given staff and the volunteers the morale boost we all needed. We feel both relief and gratitude; this is the best outcome any of us could have hoped for and we are incredibly thankful.”