Barclays funding boost for museum

The Framework Knitters Museum in Ruddington, Nottinghamshire, has obtained funding from Barclays to help the museum achieve an ambitious redevelopment and expansion project. The funding deal was overseen by Graham Allen of Corporate Money Matters, an independent corporate consultancy and financial specialist, who worked closely with the museum to find a suitable funding partner and broker the deal.

Dennis Jones, Assistant Treasurer at the Framework Knitters Museum, explained: ‘We’re very proud of our multi-award-winning museum, one of the only places left in the country where you’ll find the framework knitters’ working and living conditions perfectly preserved. However, as the museum has become more popular over the years, we desperately need more space to accommodate our growing visitor numbers and showcase our collections.

That’s why, in 2014, we purchased a property called Gunn Cottage that sits between our existing complex of frameshops, cottages and outbuildings, and our former Methodist Chapel. The funding from Barclays will help us redevelop our existing buildings and expand the museum into Gunn Cottage – creating a much larger space, where we can offer our visitors a greatly enhanced experience and much improved services.

Established in 1971, the Framework Knitters Museum is a unique surviving example of a 19th century framework knitters’ yard. Today, the site has been lovingly restored as a living history museum. Visitors can discover how framework knitters and their families lived and worked in Victorian times, see original knitting frames in action in the authentic frameshop and even knit their own souvenirs on a vintage Griswold knitting machine.

The museum also tells the 400-year history of framework knitting, from its role in the Industrial Revolution to the infamous Luddite riots of the 1800s, and how framework knitting gave birth to the Nottingham lace industry. Visitors can browse for locally-made souvenirs in the Textile Emporium and enjoy a relaxing break in the Tea Room or cottage gardens. The museum even has its own exhibition space, the Chapel Art Gallery, which hosts regular exhibitions by local artists, craftspeople and schools.

John Hunter, Relationship Manager at Barclays, said: ‘The museum already has a lot to offer visitors, other users and the local community. However, their ambitious redevelopment and expansion plans will transform the museum as we know it today. I’m delighted that Barclays are supporting the museum to improve their historic site, offer new and enhanced facilities, and preserve the heritage and craft of framework knitting for future generations to enjoy.’

Elaborating on the funding deal, Graham Allen from Corporate Money Matters added: ‘The brokerage of this was based on refinancing some existing debt and removing this from the property it was charged to; in doing this we had to creatively distribute the debt against other assets owned by the museum. The deal also provides a flexible drawdown facility, which can be repaid early, to enable the museum to carry out a number of essential repairs.’