Press Release

Tate Britain Reaches £45 Million Funding Goal

The funding target of £45m for the Tate Britain Millbank Project has been achieved, Tate announced today.

The funding target of £45m for the Tate Britain Millbank Project has been achieved, Tate announced today. The scheme to conserve and upgrade a number of Tate Britain’s beautiful historic galleries, open up the Millbank atrium spaces, and create a new Archive gallery and learning spaces, has been made possible with a grant of £4.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), a significant donation of £1m from Tate Members and through the generosity of private individuals and foundations.

The HLF grant of £4.9m includes a major archive digitisation project which will fully integrate Tate’s rich archival collections with the online Collection of British art. The award also supports a series of learning and outreach programmes across the country.

The newly refurbished galleries will open with a new chronological presentation of the Collection in the BP British Art Displays in May 2013. The new visitor facilities and learning spaces will open in autumn 2013.

This exciting project, which will restore and refine the original Tate Gallery, rededicated in 2001 as Tate Britain, started in February 2011. It aims to conserve the beautiful fabric of Sidney Smith’s 19th-Century building and carry out a major upgrade to the galleries, enabling Tate Britain to show its Collection in suitable environmental conditions. The Tate Britain Millbank Project also remodels and renovates visitor areas – opening up three floors of the stunning domed atrium at the front of the gallery – while creating much-needed learning studios and public facilities in order to meet growing demand.

The Foundations which have given to the Tate Britain Millbank Project include Clore Duffield Foundation, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, The Linbury Trust, The Monument Trust, The Manton Foundation, The Taylor Family Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, The Wolfson Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.

Tate Britain will unveil its major re-hang of the BP British Art Displays in the newly refurbished galleries in May 2013. As a museum where visitors will always see British art from the last 500 years to the present day, Tate Britain will present the story of British art in a continuous semi-permanent display – a walk through time - allowing familiar and less familiar works of the same period to sit together.  This is part of a two-tier approach; firstly a route for visitors to walk through an open chronological presentation, and secondly Focus displays which will give more in-depth perspectives on particular artworks, artists or themes.

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: “I am extremely grateful to all the donors, Foundations and the HLF who have helped us reach our funding target for The Tate Britain Millbank Project. This project provides a much needed upgrade to Tate Britain and will hugely improve both the galleries and facilities for our visitors.”

Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain said: “Now that the funding is in place we can consolidate our ambition to bring together the architecture of our building with the way we show our collections.  They will enhance each other in a way which I hope and believe will reward our many supporters.”

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “This innovative project will totally transform the visitor experience at Tate Britain – one of our most loved national galleries. HLF is passionate about supporting projects that make our heritage accessible to everyone and through opening up the galleries, creating new learning spaces and digitising historic archives – this impressive project will do just that.”

For further information contact Helen Beeckmans, Tate Press Office

Call 020 7887 4939/4940, Fax 020 7887 8729, Email

Erica Bolton, Bolton & Quinn Ltd, Call 020 7221 5000, Email

Laura Bates, HLF press office, 0207 591 6027 / 

The Tate Britain Millbank Project is designed to meet several key objectives:

To increase capacity and improve conditions for the display of art

Nine galleries in the southern and oldest part of Tate Britain will be reconstructed to 21st-century standards with completely new walls, roofs and floors. Gallery floors will be reinforced to hold larger sculptural works, and temperature and humidity controls will be improved through better insulation and ventilation, improving display conditions and allowing greater curatorial flexibility. New galleries will also be created in and around the space formerly housing the shop, which will be relocated to the South West quadrant of the building.

To transform the main entrance and Rotunda

The magnificent entrance on Millbank will be re-established as the public face of Tate Britain. The domed atrium at the entrance of the gallery will be opened up with a striking new spiral staircase that leads down to the lower level. The staircase will create a focal point and improve visitor orientation and circulation. The stunning circular balcony of the Rotunda dome – closed to visitors since the 1920s – will be reopened via a new lift and staircase as an area for Tate Members.

To place learning at the heart of the organisation

New purpose-built learning spaces around the gallery will be developed with easy and direct access to art. A dedicated schools’ entrance and reception will be created underneath the Millbank entrance steps. The reception will provide entrance and exit from the front landscape, and have a lunchroom capacity for 120 children. In addition, a beautiful room overlooking the river Thames above the Millbank entrance will host a wide range of seminars, public events and learning programmes.

To transform the visitor experience

Visitor figures at Tate Britain have risen by 60% over the past 10 years, placing high demand on the public spaces and facilities around the building. A new café will therefore be created on the ground floor at the front of the gallery, leading onto a new external terrace. As well as opening up the spaces around, above and below the Rotunda, the shop will also be relocated and upgraded to further improve layout and ease visitor flow.

The project architects are Caruso St John, structural engineers Alan Baxter & Associates LLP, services engineers Max Fordham LLP, cost consultants Turner & Townsend, project managers Drivers Jonas Deloitte and construction managers Lend Lease.


Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported more than 33,000 projects allocating £4.9billion across the UK. Website: 

Tate Members

Tate Members is a separate charity which contributes around £6m to Tate in funding each year. It is the largest arts membership scheme in Europe. Tate Members was founded in 1958 and has funded the acquisition of many works for the Tate Collection. In 2008 Tate Members contributed £1m to the capital project to the Tate Modern Project.