The Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe has been granted planning permission to expand the museum site with a new pavilion that will link its two existing buildings into one larger site.

Currently split between two buildings, the old Engine House and the original Brunel Sinking Shaft, a new entrance pavilion, containing a café and shop will connect the two buildings via a covered courtyard.

Concept image of new layout (c) Tate Harmer

The changes will also shift the focus of the entrance from the north side of the site to the south, closer and more obvious from the nearby London Overground station at Rotherhithe. A refurbished Engine House will provide new displays and interpretation, giving the Thames Tunnel Archive drawings a permanent home.

The Museum outlined its plans in 2020, and sought Planning Permission and Scheduled Monument consent after consulting with local organisations and holding an open day last September. The council has now granted planning permission for the project to go ahead.

Partially funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Museum is fundraising for the remaining money and has successfully secured £23,000 in grants already.

“Planning permission is a really important milestone for this project” said Director Katherine McAlpine, “But there is so much more to this project than just the new building. By providing better, more up-to-date facilities, we can offer w a much broader range of activities for our local community, from family workshops to new schools programmes, from cultural performances to afterschool clubs. We’re really excited to have met this milestone and will continue working with our community partners to deliver this project”.

The museum is now fundraising to complete the project – details here.

The museum was opened in 1975, currently attracts around 35,000 visitors a year, and is entirely self-funded.


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  1. Toby says:

    Good to see the Brunel Museum getting some funding. This museum portrays an interesting part of young Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s early years as a designing engineer. Perhaps they could also expand on Brunel’s works in the south west of England?

  2. JP says:

    Yeah, discounted tickets on the bum-numbing Great Western Hitachi trains to the palace that is Bristol Temple Meads station, the jewel that is that city’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and then on to the great bow-string plus suspension bridge combo that is his last year’s masterpiece of the Tamar bridge.
    That would certainly increase visitor numbers. Have you seen the price of a ticket west from Paddington?!

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