The Uttoxeter Heritage Trust, the charity which runs Redfern’s Cottage has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the complete re-development of the museum, it was announced today. The project aims to transform the museum experience and create a wonderful visitor and educational attraction in Uttoxeter. It will also improve physical access, conserve special parts of the building and provide ideal storage facilities for the unique collection of artefacts, archives and photographs held at the museum.

Development funding of £40,000 has been awarded to help Redfern’s Cottage progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £514,600 at a later date.

The project aims to involve many local organisations and individuals in the development process as well as recruit new volunteers to help plan the new displays and how the museum will work. There are also certain special features in the building on Carter Street in need of conservation such as the floors and doors which are excellent examples of their type and have local significance too. Young people will be especially important to the project as their voices and actions will be welcomed to help make the museum appeal to their own age-group as well as developing their skills and sense of community.

The building has been open to the public since the 1980s and was under threat of closure a few years ago but fortunately stayed open through the work of the Uttoxeter Heritage Trust and the support of the Town Council. It was built in 1628 during Uttoxeter’s golden age and has been the home of many trades and families including Francis Redfern, author of the main history of the town ‘The History and Antiquities of Uttoxeter’. Francis Redfern was also a cooper or barrel maker and the building was used as his workshop.

“The museum trustees, volunteers and members are so thrilled to be successful with this bid as it means we can really begin to put ourselves on the map as a must visit location and help keep the town of Uttoxeter buzzing with visitors and residents” said chairman David Parkes.

Reyahn King, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, said: “We’re extremely pleased to give initial support to this project, which aims to bring this Grade II listed 17th century building into the 21st century as an exciting focus for heritage in the market town of Uttoxeter. We shall watch the developing plans with interest.”