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Council welcomes Design Award for William Morris Gallery

Walthamstow’s William Morris Gallery has won yet another award, as it scooped the best heritage building at the Waltham Forest Design Awards on 12 March.

This award acknowledges the careful planning and design which has enhanced the original 18th century Georgian house, and created the new extension, which complements the historic house in design.

The Gallery underwent a £5million major redevelopment in 2011-12, a project led by the Council, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Friends of the William Morris Gallery and numerous charitable trusts, sponsors and individual donors.

The historic house is fully refurbished, with new collection displays created on the ground and first floors. The top floor houses a learning and research centre; and a new extension, built on the site of the former east wing, houses a tea room, a special exhibition gallery and a collection store.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Winning this award is a real honour and it’s good to see our Gallery deservedly become a cultural focal point for our area; the works we’ve done have really paid off.

“We’re also very proud of the fact that the Gallery won the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013, triumphing over nine other museums and galleries from across the country to win the £100,000 prize. It is also currently shortlisted for European Museum of the Year – the only English museum to be included.

“We enjoy welcoming residents and their families who visit our beautiful building and stunning collections to find out more about the life, works and legacy of William Morris, the world-famous designer, craftsman, campaigner and former resident.”

Visitors can also participate in a range of events and performances involving artists, craftsmen, musicians, actors and filmmakers. The current exhibition programme features Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s “English Magic”, until 30 March.

Cllr Khan added: “The fact that over 120,000 people have visited over the past year shows that it is exactly what a museum should be: a building telling fascinating stories to bring the collection alive for our residents and visitors, encouraging them to return time and time again.”

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