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  • Wirral, Port Sunlight, National Museums Liverpool

Wirral gallery’s £2.8 million refurbishment to be unveiled

Wirral’s Lady Lever Art Gallery will re-open its South End galleries next month following a £2.8 million development project.

The Port Sunlight-based galleries closed in November 2014 allowing a refurbishment scheme by Clan Contracting to return them to their original architectural glory, and the completed work is now set to be unveiled on 25 March.

The improvements, designed by architects Purcell, have been funded through donations, corporate sponsorship and major grants, including a £1.4m contribution from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The doorways of the galleries, which were first opened in 1922, gave been opened up to improve circulation as part of the project, along with the removal of low suspended ceilings that were installed in the 1960s to reveal original double-height spaces.

New glazed doors have also been added to provide views of Port Sunlight village from the South End, and architectural lighting will highlight iconic features within the cultural building.

Meanwhile period features such as elaborate skirting and parquet flooring is said to feature within the new-look galleries.

The attraction, which was founded by William Hesketh Lever, is operated by National Museums Liverpool.

Sandra Penketh, director of art galleries at National Museums Liverpool, says: “The new South End galleries are a true representation of Lever’s remarkable vision. He believed that art should be an inspiration to all, and the rooms in this spectacular space were re-imagined with this message at heart.

“We’ve reversed some of the changes that were made to the South End in the 1960s, opening up the galleries to allow us to display Lever’s outstanding treasures in the best possible way.

“We’re incredibly excited to reveal the new galleries to visitors and hope that they’ll enjoy exploring the collections in new and inspiring ways.”