Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is sprinkled with National Lottery stardust

Prime Minister, Theresa May, delivers a speech at Jodrell Bank
Prime Minister Theresa May today announced £16.1million National Lottery and Government funding for a new Discovery Centre at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire.

The new ‘First Light at Jodrell Bank’ project will create a spectacular new gallery building that will promote and celebrate Jodrell Bank’s world-leading place in the history of astronomy.  £12.1m of the funding comes from HLF, with a further £4m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 

Funding announced by the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister visited the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which is part of The University of Manchester, today to make the announcement.  Founded in 1945, it is the earliest radio astronomy observatory in the world still in existence and was a pioneer of the new science of radio astronomy, which revolutionised our understanding of the universe. In recognition of the international significance of its science heritage, Jodrell Bank was nominated by DCMS for UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in January 2018.

Must-see destination

The game-changing support of National Lottery players will preserve and protect the heritage of the site for future generations and result in a must-see national heritage destination to match the site’s national and international importance. The new facilities will house a stunning new exhibition and engagement space, incorporating the original fabric of the 1957 dish of the telescope, an auditorium devoted to displaying immersive digital presentations, an education hub, and a new café.

“Jodrell Bank will be a centre for learning, wonder and fun – a place where people of all ages can visit, be inspired and, quite literally, reach for the stars.”Ros Kerslake, HLF Chief Executive

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “The First Light project has been designed to nurture a new generation of scientists and astronomers and is only possible thanks to National Lottery funding. Jodrell Bank will be a centre for learning, wonder and fun – a place where people of all ages can visit, be inspired and, quite literally, reach for the stars.”

The new facilities will include an exhibition and engagement space, incorporating the original fabric of the 1957 dish of the telescope, an auditorium devoted to displaying immersive digital presentations and a café.

Broadening visitor appeal

The three-year redevelopment will connect and involve a wide range of people with the heritage of science and innovation. It will also create 19 new roles and establish a volunteer programme.

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