A SPARKLING new glass museum in Wordsley is on track to open next year after being awarded almost £1million to complete its long-awaited internal fit out.

Work to create the White House Cone Museum of Glass was completed in June 2016 and it has played host to various pop up events since but the venture could not be officially opened to the public until funds had been raised for the internal fixtures and fittings.

But now following a successful bid by the British Glass Foundation and Dudley Council to the National Lottery Heritage Fund - the project has been awarded £980,000 to complete the internal fit out of the museum which will house the borough's prized glass collection formerly displayed at the old Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford.

Councillor Ian Kettle, Dudley's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise at Dudley Council, said: "This is excellent news and the result of a lot of hard work from everyone involved in this project.

"This is another important stepping stone in creating a visitor attraction in the heart of such an important area for the glass-making industry, which we hope will welcome people from all over the world."

The fit out, which will transform the ground and first floor galleries, will include permanent displays looking at the history of the people, products and processes associated with glass production.

There will also be a flexible activity and learning space for seminars, talks and school visits.

The hot glass blowing studio, a popular feature at Broadfield House Glass Museum, will be reinstated and wider space used for community-led events and workshops.

A temporary exhibition space will also enable more of the collection to be displayed in a series of changing exhibitions and there will also be space to showcase items loaned from other museums and galleries.

Anne Jenkins, director of England, Midlands and East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players this wonderful glass collection can now go on permanent display for the communities of Stourbridge, and visitors from even further afield, to discover and enjoy."

Graham Knowles, chairman of The British Glass Foundation, said: "I am delighted for the people of Stourbridge and the wider community that, thanks to the Heritage Fund, we now have the resources to finally complete the 'People’s Museum'.

"Their support has been fantastic and this award now gives us confidence that we will attain our goal of providing a new home for the internationally renowned Stourbridge glass collection. Despite all the difficulties and delays, with the resolve of the trustees and our supporters, we now have the funding to enable us to fit out the display areas and tell the remarkable stories of people involved in the glass making industry.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support but I am particularly grateful to Dudley Council which has been absolutely crucial in helping secure this funding. They remain a key player in our plans and we look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship."

The BGF had to raise £238,000 in match-funding in order to obtain the grant which follows a previous successful bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for £142,000 in 2015 to cover the costs of a business and project development plan.

It also follows a significant earlier investment in 2013 of £2.15m from the European Regional Development Fund which enabled developers Complex Development Projects Ltd (CDP) to transform the dilapidated canalside Stuart Crystal glass factory buildings into the new museum, along with new business units and 18 residential units.

Mr Knowles added: "I would also like to thank Ian Harrabin MBE, managing director of Complex Development Projects Limited, for his generosity which will ensure the new museum is sustainable in the long term for future generations."

He said the BGF will now go out to tender for the design team for the internal fit-out of the museum and it will shortly also be advertising for a museum director whose salary will also be covered by the grant funding for three years.

Once the fit out is complete, the new museum is set to open in July 2021.