The Common Room – the iconic building in Newcastle city centre which many people knew as The Mining Institute – has received a Capital Kickstart Fund award of £228,000 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund for the regeneration of the Grade II* listed building on Westgate Road, which has been delayed as a result of the pandemic.

This is one of the latest grants awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and builds on over £1 billion awarded to a huge range of cultural and heritage organisations from the Culture Recovery Fund last year.

Ambitious projects at 22 heritage organisations, including The Common Room, will benefit from £13.5 million in targeted grants allocated by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restart planned work that now face delays or increased costs.

Liz Mayes, Chief Executive of The Common Room, said: “This grant, along with £721,900 of National Lottery funds, distributed by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, raises the total amount awarded to The Common Room from National Lottery Heritage Fund to £5,050,000 and means that we can overcome some of the challenges we have faced due to COVID-19.

“The Common Room project is more than just a heritage restoration and thanks to support from our funders we can deliver on our plans to use our region’s heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers – a mission that is all the more important given the economic climate and its impact on prospects for young people.”

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “From restoring Georgian lidos and Roman baths to saving local screens and synagogues, our Culture Recovery Fund is helping to save the places people can’t wait to get back to, when it is safe to do so.

“All over the country, this funding is protecting the venues that have shaped our history and make us proud of our communities, whilst safeguarding the livelihoods of the people that work in them.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “These are all ongoing major refurbishment and restoration projects, funded by us, which have been threatened by the pandemic. From the oldest surviving outdoor swimming baths to a Victorian pier, and from a much-loved park to an historic abbey, these are all places that will enrich hundreds of lives when they reopen. We are delighted this extra funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will ensure that these exciting projects will go ahead.”

The Common Room is in the final stages of a two-year programme of works to preserve the building and its collection and create a new hub for innovation and learning in Newcastle city centre.

“This grant gives us the ability to upgrade ventilation in the building to become a safer space to deliver our charitable objectives, support jobs, enable recruitment and underpin our operating costs for the coming 18 months,” added Liz Mayes.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund, along with the BFI, Historic England and Arts Council England, are currently assessing applications for the remaining £400 million in funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, which was held back to allow the Government to support organisations through the Spring and Summer.

Recipients from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund have contributed stunning images to a curated collection of video-call backgrounds, released today. The public can choose from famous arts venues and heritage sites from Durham Cathedral to the English National Ballet to use as their background and show their support for the cultural sectors. The backgrounds are free to download.


Notes to editors

The full list of capital grant awards from National Lottery Heritage Fund is:

  • Museum of Oxford Hidden Histories, £240,000
  • Bevis Marks Synagogue Heritage Foundation, £497,000
  • North Yorkshire Moors Historic Railway Trust, £296,000
  • Brighton Museum’s Royal Estate, £1,000,000
  • Tavistock Guildhall Gateway Centre, £130,900
  • Geffrye Museum Trust, £692,000
  • Bath Abbey, £534,000
  • Tunbridge Wells Cultural & Learning Hub, £675,000
  • The Archway Centre: Roman Baths Learning Centre and World Heritage Centre, £359,600
  • Swanage Pier Regeneration Project, £469,800
  • Cleveland Pools Trust , £290,000
  • Lincoln Cathedral, £973,600
  • Chester Farm, £719,700
  • Wicksteed Park, £302,700
  • Black Country Living Museum, £3,740,000
  • The Whitaker, £179,900
  • The Globe, Stockton-on-Tees, £774,000
  • The Common Room of the Great North, £228,000
  • Beamish Museum, £975,500
  • Carlisle Cathedral, £250,000
  • Thackray Museum, £174,600
  • The Hyde Park Picture House, £285,600