A POPULAR Bournemouth museum is in desperate need of structural repairs before it turns “disastrous”. 

The walls of the Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in East Cliff are in a “very poor way” because of “significant” problems with water ingress. 

It is estimated around £4m of repairs is needed to repair the Victorian Grade II* listed house to an acceptable standard. 

Speaking at a committee meeting, Sarah Newman, the museum’s manager, said the museum is suffering from a “lack of investment in maintaining the building”.

Bournemouth Echo:

She said: “The one area of great concern is the whole of the south facing façade facing the sea has significant problems of water ingress, ceilings are worn down and so on. 

“They are not good conditions and it is extremely bad for staff who are working in those kinds of facilities. 

“The lights on the balcony have failed, at the end of their life, and today they are being replaced which is a massive operation if you can imagine scaffolding in the main hall and up three storeys.” 

Rainfall is one of the reasons why the building has had problems with water ingress. 

Alex Frost, committee member, said: “[This is the] ripple effects of global warming, the downside of the rain is the fabric of the building and I believe we have a backlog of £4m of repairs we need to be making and they have been delayed. 

“If and when we can achieve it, it will be a real benefit because if we carry on with the wet summers the way we are at the moment it will be disastrous. 

“It’s really heart-rending to walk around the museum and see buckets everywhere with water dripping in.” 

Sarah said the Bournemouth Civic Society has donated residual funds to the museum, a “significant” legacy from Julia Stallard and has applied to the Arts Society for £100,000 for an 18-month project.  

Stuart Bartholomew, chairman of the committee, added: “It’s distressing because some of it will take a great deal of resources to redeem.  

“A lack of maintenance means not only more maintenance but major structural intervention at some point and I think we are facing that in the very near future.” 

Despite all this, Sarah said it had been an “exceptionally good” summer for the museum, which had attracted more than 30,000 visitors and saw visitors rise by 14 per cent. 

She said the Lucy Kemp Welch exhibition, improved marketing and bad weather making more people visit museums as being reasons for more visitors.