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Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Lottery cash for historic projects
Central Park in New York
New York's Central Park was modelled on Birkenhead Park
Historic projects across the UK are to get a face-lift with National Lottery regeneration grant-aid.

The money will come from a 45m grant allocated by the Heritage Lottery Fund to regenerate 10 historic projects in rural and inner city areas.

Historic parks play a key role in the life of a town or city

Stephen Johnson
Heritage Lottery Fund director
Birkenhead Park on Merseyside, designed in 1847 and believed to be the world's first public park, will get 6.6m to restore it to its former Victorian glory.

The Grade I-listed 226-acre urban park, which provided the prototype for Central Park in New York, is in a deprived inner city area and has suffered at the hands of vandals for many years.

Visitor facilities boost

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council will use the grant to improve visitor facilities, replace lost bridges and reconstruct the original drainage system which no longer works.

Roundhay Park in Leeds, Broadfield Park in Rochdale and Forbury Gardens in Reading will also benefit from lottery money.

SS Great Britain
SS Great Britain to be revitalised
Other projects earmarked for cash include the Bristol-based SS Great Britain.

Once the largest ship in the world, it is due to receive 7.35m.

The money will help pay for improved visitor access, a schools education programme and restoration of part of the former Great Western Steamship Company dockyard, where the ship was built.

Nearly 5m has been earmarked for the Ancoats conservation area in Manchester, which is one of the UK's most significant industrial sites.

Important contribution

The Ancoats Building Preservation Trust is due to get 278,000 to turn two Grade II-listed buildings into offices and homes.

Stephen Johnson, Heritage Lottery Fund director of operations, said: "All these major grants contribute towards regeneration in different ways.

"Historic parks play a key role in the life of a town or city and are valuable green spaces within the urban environment, forming a real asset to people living there.

"The work proposed in Bristol on SS Great Britain is a significant contribution towards the redevelopment of the Bristol docks area, and our support for Ancoats will reawaken interest and bring sustainable new life to this important part of Manchester's heritage."

A possible 9.8m to restore Birmingham's crumbling new-classical town hall has also been announced.

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