Bristol's SS Great Britain Trust awarded funding for vital conservation work

Bristol's SS Great Britain Trust awarded funding for vital conservation work: Image 1 The SS Great Britain is one of the most important historic ships in the world; when she was launched in 1843 she was called 'the greatest experiment since the Creation'. Brunel's SS Great Britain is now classed as one of the UK's finest visitor attractions and is also an incredible Bristol wedding venue. 

This year, thanks to a £50,000 award from the DCMS Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvements Fund, the ship's long-term conservation has taken a big step forward.  The DCMS Wolfson award, combined with an astonishing £22,000 worth of donations from the charitable trust's members, will be put towards environmental monitoring improvements and a 'Conservation in Action' display. 

These innovative advancements will improve the long-term sustainability of the Trust's conservation work and mean that visitors will soon be able to discover the preservation of the ship through both the new displays and through engineering focused drop-in sessions in the Brunel Institute.

SS Great Britain Trust's Conservation Engineer, Nicola Grahamslaw, said: “we are delighted to receive backing from the DCMS Wolfson Galleries Improvement Fund. The award will help us to improve our long-term sustainability by expanding the capability of our conservation monitoring system. New innovative technology means we will be able to make improvements to the quality and quantity of data we are able to collect and process. This will allow us to conduct exciting new research both to optimise our energy-efficiency and to gain a deeper understanding of the future conservation challenges the ship will be facing. I look forward to sharing more details as it progresses.”

The DCMS Wolfson awarding panel noted that the project was very worthwhile, combining important conservation work with improved public engagement, stating: “We are delighted to be supporting this wonderful project and wish you all the best for its future.”

Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism Michael Ellis said: “Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we are rightly proud of these institutions. The DCMS/Wolfson Fund demonstrates how the government and philanthropic organisations can work together to boost our museum sector. We want people up and down the country to enjoy culture and heritage wherever they are. The 35 grants awarded today will make important contributions towards improving the visitor experience; ensuring our wonderful collections are open to as many people as possible.”

This is the thirteenth round of a joint fund which DCMS runs in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation. The fund aims to provide capital funding for museums and galleries across England to deliver improvements.  The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities. Since it was established in 1955, over £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 11,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “We are delighted to provide this funding through our longstanding partnership with DCMS – an excellent example of how we as a charity can work together fruitfully with government. We are grateful to DCMS for matching our funding. One of the great treasures of this country is the sheer quality and range of our heritage collections – stored and displayed in wonderful museums and galleries. This funding will help to provide even better visitor experiences and greater awareness of these fascinating collections. A particular joy of this funding round has been the impressive mix of the projects supported: from a dress collection at Carlisle's Tullie House to temporary exhibition space in Falmouth's National Maritime Museum.”

For more information about this, and also to check out this incredible Bristol wedding venue, visit

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