Date 13 October 2020

Just Write!

Birmingham’s Pen Museum gets Government lifeline

Birmingham’s unique Pen Museum is to receive a lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

Possibly the world’s only Pen Museum, it has been awarded up to £67,000, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

The Pen Museum in Birmingham’s aims to preserve and improve the public’s access and understanding of its vital role in pen production when the city produced 75% of the worlds steel pen nibs, exporting them around the world.

Andy Munro, Chair of the Trustees of the Pen Museum said;

“We are delighted for this vital lifeline from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

The Pen Museum is a charity and is almost exclusively run by a loyal band of knowledgeable volunteers to keep this important part of Birmingham’s and the UK’s Heritage alive. At its height Birmingham produced over 75% of the world’s pen nibs exporting the ability to communicate around the world.

The Pen Museum’s planned re-opening in November will go ahead with a renewed vigour and optimism and our work to improve the accessibility and appreciation of the collections will be greatly enhanced by this support.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”

The Pen Museum is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.


Contact: Carmel Girling

Mobile 07977583843

Notes to Editors

The Pen Museum in Birmingham’s Pen Museum which is a charity, and relies on a band of loyal and experienced volunteers, focuses on the important legacy of Birmingham’s 19th Century pen trade and its significant contribution to improving literacy throughout the world when the city produced and exported over 75% of the world’s pens.

The Museum narrates the interesting lives, stories and important expertise of manufacturers, owners and workers and fascinating connections with author Washington Irving and Disney amongst others. The Museum has over 5,000 objects related to the Birmingham Pen Trade.

It is located in a former pen factory, built in 1863, known as the Argent Centre and sites on the site of the cottage where American author Washington Irving was inspired to write Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow.

Visitors can experience writing with feather quills, reeds and steel nibs and can also make their own nib using traditional methods.

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. 

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of several bodies administering the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and unprecedented support package of £1.57 billion for the culture and heritage sector. Find out more at Arts Council Covid-19

Culture Recovery Fund – Round 2