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East Midlands Chamber News

Great Expectations For Focus Consultants

Charles Dickens MuseumFocus Consultants has played a key role in the expansion and transformation of the Charles Dickens Museum which re-opened in London this month after a £3.1m development.

Focus project managed the major restoration and refurbishment of the museum at the author’s only surviving London home.

The Great Expectations project at the building in Bloomsbury is the most significant legacy of Dickens’ bicentenary, and has led to a doubling in size of the museum, with neighbouring 49 Doughty Street opening to offer a new and accessible visitor experience.

It is the latest high-profile museum scheme undertaken by Focus Consultants, whose head office is based at Phoenix Business Park, Nottingham, with offices in Holborn in London, Leicester, Boston and Aubourn in Lincolnshire.

“The teams at Focus Consultants in London and Nottingham have been proud to be involved in such a prestigious and exciting project, which showcases one of Britain’s most well-known and admired authors,” said Focus Consultants partner Steven Fletcher.

“The Great Expectations project at the Charles Dickens Museum will secure the future of the building for generations to come and offers a brand new visitor experience for the 21st Century.”

The completion of the £3.1m Great Expectations project, funded substantially through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), is a fitting finale to a year of worldwide Dickens celebrations.

The museum – housed in Dickens’ home at the start of his career and the birthplace of classics Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby – re-opened its doors on 10 December 2012.

The Great Expectations project has been made possible with support from funders including HLF, English Heritage, the City Bridge Trust, City of London Corporation, the Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, the John S Cohen Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and many other trusts, as well as hundreds of donations from individuals.

Dr Florian Schweizer, director of the Charles Dickens Museum, said: "This has been the most exciting year in the museum’s history and I am sure Dickens would have been delighted about this transformation of his former home for his 200th birthday. Our Great Expectations project will give our visitors an inspiring opportunity to experience literary history in beautifully refurbished period rooms and to find out about one of the world’s greatest storytellers.

"The restoration of the fragile buildings means that the museum will continue to serve visitors in the future while the new interpretation scheme brings to life the amazing story of Charles Dickens, from his traumatic childhood memories to his remarkable career.”

Experts at Focus Consultants have worked on a number of museum projects, including the £25m Mshed in Bristol, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, which was named UK museum of the year in 2012 by the Art Fund charity, and SeaCity in Southampton, which opened earlier this year – a century after the Titanic set sail from the city.

Earlier this month the company announced it had been secured as project manager and cost consultant for a multi-million pound redevelopment at the National Army Museum in Chelsea.

Focus Consultants specialises in creative approaches to securing funding packages and delivering high quality projects across the UK. Since its creation in 1994, Focus has secured over £800m of grant assistance, and delivered more than £1 billion of projects and programmes.

It works across a range of sectors including heritage, arts and culture, education and tourism.

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