Water and Steam Museum Launches Urgent Appeal For Funds

Venue has had 'a difficult few years'

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London Museum of Water and Steam

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October 20, 2023

A crowdfunding appeal has been launched by the London Museum of Water and Steam on Brentford High Street due to it currently going through what it describes as a difficult time financially.

The venue, which gets no support from the council or central government, says it is stretched almost to breaking point after a ‘difficult few years’.

Having been required to close or limit access for a sustained period during the pandemic, the rise in the cost-of-living, which has required many local families to cut back on discretionary spending, is understood to have had an impact on visitor numbers.

Originally the Kew Bridge Waterworks, there has been a museum at the site since 1974 and it houses a collection of engines. Operating as a charity and supported mainly by a group of volunteers and a Members’ program, it is also having to deal with a rise in core costs such as utilities, cleaning and insurance.

The Museum says, “We’ve got a strong forward plan and an exciting new vision which brings back steam and life to our engines. We are excited about the future but we recognize that we need to develop a much more sustainable operating mode that gets the balance right between generating visitor income and being a community resource. But it will take time to get there. Time we don’t have without extra funds to survive. So we’re asking for your help. You are crucial to realizing the future of the London Museum of Water and Steam – to our ongoing survival.”

Speak Out in Hounslow, which regularly visits says, “If [the Museum] was to close, our members with learning disabilities and/or autism and their parents/carers would be absolutely devastated. For them the museum is a safe place where they feel welcomed and included and for several members, the only time they leave their homes is when they attend our activities there. This is due to the accessibility and the facilities that meet their needs. They are proud to be part of the museum community and physically change when they realise that it is a place that they can come to without judgement. “

Local resident Eamonn, who meets at the museum as part of an independent community mental health support group called it a life line adding, ‘[The London Museum of Water & Steam] is a space we have come to love and rely on. It is an important source of support.’

The venue’s 50th anniversary is approaching and it plans to celebrate the achievements of those first volunteers.

At the time of writing over £3,000 had already been donated. If you wish to contribute to the appeal, click here.

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