The Bowes Museum receives heritage stimulus grant.
The Bowes Museum receives heritage stimulus grant.

The Bowes Museum receives heritage stimulus grant.

Fund will pay for a full condition survey of the main grade 1 listed building.

The Bowes Museum has received a financial boost from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to carry out a building survey during the coronavirus pandemic.


The grants are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.


The Barnard Castle based Museum has been awarded £20,000 to undertake a full condition survey on the main building in order to develop a five-year maintenance plan and start a fundraising campaign to carry out any necessary work.


Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like The Bowes Museum, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.


As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.


Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy.”


Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive added: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.


“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”


The Bowes Museum was created by the businessman John Bowes and his French wife Joséphine to share their extensive art collection with the public and opened in 1892.  The grade 1 listed château style building is home to an internationally recognised collection of fine and decorative arts: including old master paintings, fashion and textiles, ceramics and sculpture as well as furniture, silver and metals and an iconic life-size silver swan automaton.


The last full condition report was carried out in 2004, ahead of the reroofing of the Museum in 2005 and further repair work that was completed in 2009.


The Museum has appointed Ferrey and Mennim from York to begin work on the building survey in March, which will involve a full assessment of the fabric, stone and roof materials as well as the electrical and heating systems.  They will also advise on ecological and environmental matters.


Alison Nicholson, The Bowes Museum’s Funding Officer, said: “In these challenging times for charities, cultural and arts organisations, the Museum is delighted to have been awarded this grant from Historic England to undertake a building survey.  This will enable us to continue to care for and conserve the magnificent grade 1 listed building and keep the collections housed within safe and secure.  The resulting 5 year building maintenance plan will inform our future fundraising strategy to ensure the preservation of the building for generations to come.  We are very much looking forward to working with Andrew Boyce from Ferrey and Mennim and developing a long-lasting relationship.”


The Museum is currently closed due to the national lockdown; however, its park and gardens are still open to the public, with the main gates open from 10am to 4pm daily.  There are hand sanitisation stations and signage reminding people to adhere to social distancing around the parkland.




Notes to Editors



  • The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes.  Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in.  The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods. 
  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a National Portfolio Organisation receives support from Arts Council England. Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
  • The Bowes Museum has undergone major redevelopment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.
  • The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 03000 262626,


About the Culture Recovery Fund


The government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund is designed to secure the future of Britain’s heritage sites as well as museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas and music venues with emergency grants and loans.


£1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund is divided into categories for Heritage, Arts and Film. In England, it is administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by the arms-length bodies Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the British Film Institute. 


Funding for Heritage:


  • The £50m Heritage Stimulus Fund is administered at arms-length by Historic England
  • The £88m Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is a joint fund, allocated at arms-length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


About Historic England


We are Historic England, the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.



Categories: News

The Bowes Museum grounds are open!

Due to the government announcement on Thursday 17 December, that County Durham is to remain in COVID tier 3 restrictions, The Bowes Museum unfortunately will remain closed to all visitors. However, the grounds remain open to visitors from 10.00 - 4.00 daily, and we are currently hosting a woodland fairy trail, two spring trails and outdoor guided tours are available from 29 March 2021.

As we have already been shut for a number of weeks and there is much uncertainty around possible further restrictions, we have decided to use this period to undertake some work in Café Bowes, alongside performing some much-needed structural repairs to the building, notably to the windows. January and February are usually quieter times for the Museum, often due to severe weather, so we believe that this is the best time to carry out such works with the least amount of disruption to our visitors.

We have therefore decided to remain closed for a period of four weeks following any near-future tier 2 announcement from the government, as this will allow us time to deep clean the Museum prior to reopening our doors once again. We will, of course, keep you updated as the guidelines change.

Your ongoing support during these unprecedented times is hugely appreciated and we very much look forward to welcoming you back into the building as early as possible in 2021.

We hope to be able to offer a few COVID-safe outdoor events over the coming months, about which we shall make further announcements as soon as possible.