How the project started
The Lightbox began in 1993 when 70 local people got together to try to create a gallery and museum for Woking. Over the years the idea grew in size, ambition and support, with over £7 million raised to complete the project. When the stunning new building opened in September 2007, their vision became a reality.
Crane on The Lightbox construction site
Woking College Viewfinder Project
The Lightbox took a long time in development, but that time was put to good use.
The early committed members secured the partnership of Woking Borough Council who have been visionary in their support for ten years. They donated the site, provided development funding and £3 million towards the construction. They also entered into a service contract with The Lightbox for fifteen years, ensuring the centre is financially stable now open.
Since the first staff were employed in 1997 The Lightbox developed a nationally recognised, award-winning education and outreach service. We continue to run projects and activities that focus on history and the arts, bringing together community groups, schools and professional artists in our purpose built Education Studio.
Before construction there were over 40 pieces of consultation including a Citizens’ Panel survey, which found that 82% of Woking residents thought they would use the gallery if it were built.
In 2004, the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to support the heritage aspects of the project. Arts Council England also came on board, along with many other companies, Charitable Trusts and individuals.
This gave us sufficient funds to be able to start construction in September 2005. Just two years on, the new building was officially opened by Woking Mayor, Bryan Cross, at an exclusive party on September 14. The Lightbox then threw its doors open to the public the following day, with over 2,000 visitors flooding in over the first weekend.
The Lightbox has been designed by an internationally respected team, led by Marks Barfield Architects, creators of the London Eye. It was built by a well established family firm, R Durtnell & Son, who have a reputation for unusual and high quality buildings.
The Lightbox, a registered charity, relies on the generous support of its friends to carry out its work.