A LOTTERY windfall will help conserve the Isle of Wight’s world-important collection of historic railway rolling stock and create a new visitor centre exploring the story of the monks’ lives at Quarr Abbey.
Millions of pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be winging its way to the Island in the shape of a £2 million grant to Quarr Abbey and a £970,000 grant to the Isle of Wight Stream Railway at Havenstreet.
At Quarr Abbey — identified by the World Monument Fund as one of the 100 most endangered historic sites in the world — the money will be used to create a new visitor information centre to deepen visitors’ understanding of the many facets of the site’s rich history.
The project also includes repair and conservation works of the abbey remains and existing abbey church, as well as an education and volunteering programme, training placements in construction for local college students and open air drama performances.
Fr Finbar, the Prior, said: "We are very pleased to have been awarded a substantial grant from the HLF.
"It makes possible the consolidation of the ancient Cistercian Abbey ruins and the further engagement of the present monastery with the public, while at the same time preserving our contemplative way of life."
The steam railway will use its grant to build a new 2,000 sq m engine and rolling stock shed to protect its important collection of historic locomotives, carriages and wagons from the elements, housing them on four tracks with platforms and walkways between them.
Railway chairman, Steve Oates, said: "This is transformational stuff for the railway.
"We are hugely indebted to HLF and to all those who gave so generously to our appeal.
"After 41 years of operating and growing our railway we will soon have a new purpose-built structure which will not only protect and conserve so much of the collection we have built-up, but also provides a wonderful new attraction for our many visitors."