The Museum of Science and Industry exit door

‘Wheels of government turn slowly’: no word on when Science and Industry space hall will become hub for creatives

  • City council says government is not up to speed with development project
  • Science and Industry Museum to vacate lease on historic Campfield buildings later this year

A planned creative hub on the site of the Science and Industry Museum space hall – and which is part of the government’s Levelling Up programme – is still waiting on funding.

This is despite the council securing £17.52m in the government fund to work for the Culture in the City project.

The historic buildings due for transformation are Upper and Lower Campfield market buildings. The latter is leased by the Science and Industry Museum to store its exhibits of historic planes in its Air and Space hall.

A council spokesperson said: “The wheels of government funding turn slowly, unfortunately.

“The funding announcement was made at the end of October last year, so there isn’t a lot more that we’re going to comment on at this point until there is a bit more meat on the bones of the project and details of the programme of development confirmed.”

The two buildings are Grade II listed and the Science and Industry museum is looking to move out of Lower Campfield market building later this year.

The building itself has not been operational for some time and exhibitions have been removed.

The majority of exhibits are on loan from the museum’s partners and a full list has been provided by the museum to help track items down to their new location, as well as which objects are set to leave the North West.

Regarding the museum’s official message to everybody who has learnt and enjoyed the Air and Space Hall’s exhibitions for all this time, director Sally MacDonald has stated: “The decision to vacate our lease has not been easy, but it’s the right thing to do for our visitors, the building and the city.

“The repair and investment work required to bring this beautiful building back to life is substantial, the space presents real challenged in the sustainable display of historic objects and ultimately, it is the responsible thing to now pass the building back to Manchester city council, ready for its next chapter.

“I would like to thank all of the visitors, volunteers, and partners that have helped to make the Air and Space hall such a special place for many.”

Northern Quota reached out to the Science and Industry museum on how the public shall be notified of the lease’s end when vacating is finalised. They responded: “Our digital channels are kept up to date on the progress of all current projects at the museum and the public are notified which buildings are currently accessible on their visit at the welcome desk via email if they have booked their free admission ticket in advance.”

In terms of how the museum feels about all this change, they said: “A long-term, multi-million-pound restoration programme is underway to carry out crucial restoration work and reveal new spaces and perspectives for all visitors to enjoy, play and learn in. We are bringing to life the story of the site, inspiring the innovators of the future to power the next (green) industrial revolution and creating a more economically and environmentally sustainable museum.”