Lottery bid decision on archive funding is deferred

The decision on a bid for funding to enable the National Library of Scotland to buy the multi-million-pound John Murray Archive has been deferred by the Heritage Lottery Fund until January 2005.

HLF trustees met on 20 July to consider applications for lottery funding, one of which was the Library's bid for £22 million towards the cost of buying the world-renowned literary archive for the nation. While supporting the John Murray collection, they decided that more time was needed to consider how to fund the Library's application.

National Librarian Martyn Wade said of the decision: 'We welcome the HLF's support and commitment to the project, and the National Library of Scotland will do everything it can to work with the HLF and other partners to ensure that this magnificent archive remains in the United Kingdom.'

The collection - which includes letters and manuscripts from famous writers such as Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott and David Livingstone - has been offered to the Library by John Murray VII, a descendant of the Murray publishing family that was based in London. Support for its purchase by the Library has already been given by the Scottish Executive, in the form of a £6.5 million grant. Culture Minister Frank McAveety understands the HLF's funding pressures, but expressed disappointment that no decision has yet been made on awarding the amount requested.

For further information, read our press release

20 July 2004

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