Great news for Barnstaple and North Devon! By 2020 the Long Bridge Wing should be up and running and we shall have a bigger, better museum with much improved facilities, enhancing  the experience of visitors, whether local or from away. Above all, the projected Social History Gallery will portray the life of North Devonians from the 19th to the 21st century, while with purpose  built and environmentally controlled galleries, workshops and stores  the museum will be able to conserve and display so much that now languishes in store.

We are able to be so assured because not only do we have the promise of over £1.6million from major funders, but the Museum Development Trust has been successful in drawing in over 95% of the match funding that we undertook to find. Our first success came in the form of a grant of £50,000 from Fullabrook CIC. This was a very welcome and substantial statement of support which enabled us to approach other national charities with confidence and which may have influenced their decisions. Subsequently the Garfield Weston Foundation has come on board with £75,000 and the Foyle Foundation with £25,000. Further applications to charitable bodies are in the pipeline. In addition we have enjoyed the enthusiasm and generosity of local businesses, local individuals and visitors to the museum. In an effort to close the last percentage gap, we are currently running a crowdfunding campaign (http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/barnstaple-museum-long-bridge-wing).

As Chairman of the Barnstaple and North Devon Museum Development Trust, I should like to express our thanks to all the generous people who are making it possible  to create in Barnstaple a major cultural attraction in the South West, to build on William Rock’s foundation and to give Barnstaple the museum that it deserves.