A stress-filled year dominated by the impacts of the pandemic and lockdowns has left the Pankhurst Centre, like so many visitor attractions, reliant on the award of grants and loans to sure up finances.

Backing from the Heritage Emergency Fund, administered by National Lottery Heritage Fund, gave the site some much-needed respite while its doors were closed earlier this year.

With work currently under way to transform some of the museum’s spaces it has been decided that visitors will remain unable to explore a key site in the history of the suffragette movement until next year.

The changes will see the Pankhurst Centre’s visitor experience reimagined and a new permanent exhibition, At Home with the Pankhurst Family, installed. Improving the internal layout and visitor journey has been facilitated by funding from AIM Biffa Award History Makers, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

When visitors can finally return to Manchester’s 62 Nelson Street, the new exhibition will offer an unapparelled exploration of the lives and stories of Emmeline, Christabel, Sylvia, Adela and Harry – the family members who became integral to the suffragette movement.

Student Opps Grant
Emmeline Pankhurst's Blue Plaque © Pankhurst Trust

Elsewhere at the museum, a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £87,617 will enable the organisation to vastly improve the attention paid to its archive.

Alongside providing better care for artefacts the funding will also support Rooms of Our Own: The Herstory of the Pankhurst Centre, a project aiming to connect young people with the site’s history through a range of workshops and other activities.

“Having secured the funds to begin what we see as being the first step in the transformation of the Pankhurst Centre, the challenge of Covid-19 could have been a huge set back, so we are extremely thankful for the support shown to us,” notes Gail Heath, CEO of the Pankhurst Trust.

The three-pronged support from National Lottery Heritage Fund and AIM Biffa Award’s History Makers Programme will be “truly transformative” according to Tessa Chynoweth, curator at the Pankhurst Centre, who adds this latest positive step is only “marking the beginnings of our ambitious vision for the Pankhurst Centre”.

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