Horniman awarded major grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Nature + Love project

Horniman awarded major grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Nature + Love project

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has been awarded £5.7m by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, for its transformational Nature + Love project.

Nature + Love – which has at its heart an ambition to celebrate and foster a love of nature, both inside the Horniman and in the Gardens – will redevelop three areas of the south London venue, most notably the historic Natural History Gallery, home to the much-loved Horniman walrus.

In the Natural History Gallery, built in 1901, the fabric of the Grade II listed building will be upgraded to improve accessibility and to future proof the gallery environment for decades to come. The gallery displays will be redesigned to explore human understanding of and impact upon the planet. Adjacent to the gallery will be an Action Zone focused on local wildlife with interactive elements designed for families with young children.

The other Nature + Love locations are two currently under-used areas of the Gardens.

  • In the Nature Explorers Adventure Zone, the disused model boating pond will be transformed into a natural play area, inspired by local wildlife and designed to encourage young children’s engagement with and love for nature. Step-free access to the Nature Trail will be introduced for the first time.
  • In the Sustainable Gardening Zone, the under-used South Downs area of the Gardens will be transformed into a Winter Garden, with adjacent glasshouses housing a plant nursery and community facilities focused on sustainable gardening, health and wellbeing.

Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Director of Content at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says:

‘We want to thank the Heritage Fund for giving our Nature + Love project their approval. Without their support it would not be possible to bring our plans to reality. Now, thanks to the Heritage Fund, we can look forward to creating three new and exciting destinations for our visitors, and to fostering the next generation’s love and care for the natural world.’

The Nature + Love plans have been developed by architects Feilden Fowles working in collaboration with landscape architects J&L Gibbons and with the indoor gallery display being redesigned by exhibition designers Studio MB.

A key aspect of Nature + Love is the focus on environmental measures, in line with the Horniman’s Climate and Ecology Manifesto. The Nature Explorers Adventure Zone incorporates rain gardens, to manage rainfall run-off from the slope of the hill. The Sustainable Gardening Zone also features rain gardens, as well as a rainfall capture system which will use gravity to provide watering for plants around the 16.5-acre, Green Flag awarded Gardens. In the Natural History Gallery, the historic showcases will be refitted to better protect exhibits while retaining much of the look and feel of the iconic gallery.

The funding award was agreed at the Heritage Fund’s June committee meeting. The Horniman previously received Stage 1 development funding of £475,000 from the Heritage Fund, to develop the Nature + Love plans ahead of making the Stage 2 bid.

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

‘We’re thrilled that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we have been able to continue to support the Horniman with this once-in-a-generation project. The space will be transformed to inspire the next generation to engage and immerse themselves in learning about natural heritage and our climate. Heritage is a brilliant way to bring people together and projects like these are integral to connect more people with the nature and wildlife around them.’

The Horniman is approaching other funding bodies and inviting individual donors to support Nature + Love, which will cost just over £10m in total. It already has a pledge of £1.4m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, a substantial grant of £250,000 from the Foyle Foundation and has raised £200,000 so far from Trustees and a number of generous individual donors.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said:

‘The Horniman is one of our best-loved public museums thanks to its collection of fascinating treasures from around the world.

‘I am delighted that both the Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund have been able to support this wonderful institution as it encourages children and adults alike to cherish and protect our natural world. I hope that this redevelopment will inspire and be enjoyed by generations to come.’

The Nature + Love redevelopments, which are subject to planning, are due to begin in 2024.


Featured Image: Horniman Clock Tower. Photographer: Andrew Lee