CLEVELAND Ironstone Mining Museum, a major East Cleveland tourist attraction, is set to get even bigger and better thanks to a £800,000  grant made possible by National Lottery players and awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The grant will be matched by another £800,000 already given by the Coastal Communities Fund and the popular Skinningrove attraction will double in size over the next year.

The important development will see the building of a large walk round museum with displays about Cleveland mining and steel communities to complement the ever popular guided tours of the mine. It will also include state of the art artefact and document storage, two fully equipped teaching rooms, offices and maintenance area.

Work is expected to start on the museum in June 2018 and be finished in time for the 2019 summer season. “This fantastic development will allow the museum to open throughout the year, seven days a week” said Graham Banwell the Museum’s Special Projects Manager, “attracting visitors out of season benefitting the East Cleveland economy. This is phase one of an ambitious programme of developments at the museum which will set it firmly at the heart of heritage tourism in Cleveland.”

Father Adam Gaunt, local Rector and Chair of Museum Trustees, said: “This significant investment in the mining museum isn’t just great news for our museum, it is good news for the whole of East Cleveland.  Teesside is built on iron and steel and our new buildings will provide a museum that truly celebrates our magnificent industrial heritage.

“Moreover, this project will further enhance Skinningrove village as a tourist destination inevitably leading to further employment opportunities through this heritage-led regeneration project.  I wish to thank the team at the museum, staff at HLF North East, colleagues at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, Hidden Horizons who have mentored us through an organisational restructure, and all who have supported us through the bidding process.  We now move forwards together to make our vision a reality.”

Cllr Carl Quartermain, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Communications, said: “It is great to hear that the National Lottery has given £800,000 to the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum. The museum is crucial in showcasing the history of East Cleveland and how important a role it played in the iron and steel industries, hopefully the projects it has in the pipeline will encourage even more visitors to come to Skinningrove.”

Redcar and Cleveland is currently a priority area for National Lottery funding. This means that HLF works closely with organisations to develop strong applications and to ensure heritage stories from these areas get the recognition they deserve. Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum is set to reimagine the way visitors can discover the region’s story of steel and iron.”