About Our Refurbishment

Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books has closed for major refurbishment work and will welcome visitors back again when it re-opens on Sunday 19th July 2015.

After 10 years of being open every day and welcoming 700,000 visitors, Seven Stories is undergoing an exciting refurbishment. The refurbishment will invest in the fabric of the building to make the visitor experience even more magical and enjoyable, improving how the building works for visitors and to making it more energy efficient. The scheme will cost £730,000 and is being supported by grants from Arts Council England and a number of trusts and foundations. It is scheduled to coincide with the centre’s 10th birthday celebrations.

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories said, “Seven Stories has become part of childhood for thousands of children from the North East and beyond, and has been successful beyond our hopes and dreams. This refurbishment and our new exhibitions will make Seven Stories even more welcoming and magical for generations to come and a great day out for children and grownups alike.

Seven Stories will re-open on Sunday 19 July 2015 with three new exhibitions: Painting with Rainbows – A Michael Foreman Exhibition, Rhyme Around the World – A Nursery Rhyme Exhibition and A Bear Called Paddington (StoryLab Exhibition). The much-loved Bookden will be become a dedicated for area for under 4s book play, while the Creation Station will be transformed into a working artist’s studio where aspiring young authors and illustrators can practice different techniques. In the Artist’s Attic, performances and story times will have added magic through theatrical lighting and setting.

Seven Stories has been awarded £499,000 by Arts Council England alongside support from Foyle Foundation, Gillian Dickinson Charitable Trust, Idlewild Trust, Hadrian Trust, Ballinger Charitable Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, The Trust House Charitable Foundation, the Bernard Sunley Foundation Garfield Weston, Equitable Charitable Trust and the James Patterson Independent Bookshop Awards, alongside many individual friends and supporters.  Seven Stories 10th Birthday Appeal continues to raise funds to support the refurbishment, “Though we have raised enough funding to do the majority of works, we continue to fundraise so that we can put the finishing touches to the refurbishment through new  furniture and fittings” adds Kate.

Five companies are working with Seven Stories to refurbish their Grade II listed building: ADP is the architect, Turner and Townsend is providing project management and costing services, Northern Bear is the main contractor, Michael Grubb Lighting is designing the lighting and Kyoob is responsible for mechanical and engineering management.

We are excited to be out and about while the visitor centre is closed – we will be On the Road  bringing stories and fun to venues across the North East” says Kate.  Storytelling, craft activities, songs, games and more will be taking place across the North East this Spring. For more details and tickets visit www.sevenstories.org.uk

Internationally best-selling author Jodi Picoult and her daughter and co-author Samantha Van Leer will be in the North East for an event celebrating their latest collaboration Off the Page this June. The event will be hosted at Tyneside Cinema and is one of only three UK appearances by Jodi this year.

Seven Stories will welcome visitors on Sunday 19 July, when the Centre re-opens in time for the summer school holidays. To find out all of the latest news and behind the scenes information, follow Seven Stories of Facebook (/7stories), Twitter and Instagram (@7stories) or sign up to their brand new 10 Years blog.

Supporters can:

  • make a donation via www.sevenstories.org.uk/get-involved
  • text  READ07 £amount to 70070
  •  or you can pledge regular support for our work by joining the Friends scheme.


  • Ends –

Media Contact

For images, quotes or interviews please contact:

Lauren Regan-Ingram, Marketing and Digital Co-ordinator

Seven Stories, Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle. NE1 2PQ.

T: 0845 271 0777 ext. 223

E: lauren.regan-ingram@sevenstories.org.uk

Notes to Editor

Seven Stories – National Centre for Children’s Books

Seven Stories is the National Centre for Children’s Books – the only place in Britain dedicated to saving, celebrating and sharing our rich literary heritage for children.

Seven Stories’ home is a carefully converted listed warehouse in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. The centre opened in 2005 and visitors can explore seven floors of galleries, creative spaces, a specialist children’s bookshop and a café. Everything Seven Stories does uses children’s books to inspire children and grown-ups to be curious, imaginative and creative.  It strives to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy a lifetime of reading for pleasure through inventive and immersive exhibitions and lively events and learning programmes.

  • Seven Stories has built a comprehensive children’s literature archive from the 1930s to the present day.  It collects all that goes into the making of a book – first scribbles, dummy books, roughs, final artwork, letters and correspondence, drafts and finished manuscript. The work of over 200 British authors and illustrators, including Judith Kerr, Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman and David Almond is cared for in our Collection – and it is still growing.
  • Over 80,000 people visit us every year, including 12,000 visits from school children.  In addition, Seven Stories works with children and families from disadvantaged backgrounds through outreach and participation work. In 2013/14 over 18,000 children and carers took part in activities to build book and story sharing confidence and enjoyment. Since 2005 over 650,000 people have visited Seven Stories.
  • Seven Stories is becoming known across the UK through its ambitious touring exhibition programme. More than 1.3 million people have enjoyed a Seven Stories exhibition on tour.
  • Seven Stories is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio and is an accredited museum with National status, recognising the national and international significance of its collections and the quality of the work in sharing these treasures through its exhibitions and its public and learning programmes.

Seven Stories has been recognised for its abilities and achievements -

  • Won the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award in 2010 in recognition of its outstanding contribution to children’s literature
  • National status was awarded by Arts Council England in 2012 in recognition of the significance of the Collection and the excellent way Seven Stories engages with its audiences.
  • Won a National Lottery Award in September 2013 after being voted the UK’s favourite education project.

Seven Stories is a charity, all the money earned and raised is used to safeguard the magic of children’s books for future generations to enjoy.


Exhibitions Opening July 2015

Painting with Rainbows– A Michael Foreman Exhibition

Michael Foreman is one of Britain’s best-loved writer-illustrators of children’s books. Through the exhibition we will use Michael books to ask readers to consider the consequences of conflict, the fragility of our environment and the importance of friendship, empathy and tolerance through his insightful storytelling and beautiful illustrations.

Families are invited to add to the ‘Tree of Hope’ with messages for the future; explore stories of war and peace through War Boy, War Game, The General and Ali Pasha, build and play in a multi-sensory environment inspired by Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish and One World, and be inspired by Michael’s creative process in his artist’s studio with his own personal artefacts.

Supported by Andersen Press, Templar Publishing and Pavilion Books.

Rhyme Around the World – A Nursery Rhyme Exhibition

This lively & colourful exhibition invites families to step straight into their favourite nursery rhymes and discover new ones from around the world, exploring how stories, song and rhyme are shared across generations and continents. With sensory opportunities and beautiful and varied work by international illustrators, there’s something here for all the family.

Supported by Frances Lincoln Publishing and Siobhan Dowd Trust

A Bear Called Paddington (StoryLab Exhibition)

Grab your duffle coat and your marmalade sandwiches and discover how Michael Bond brought Paddington Bear to life. Packed with original illustrations and manuscripts from the series, this StoryLab exhibition explores the adventures of everyone’s favourite friendly bear from deepest, darkest Peru.

Refurbishment Partners


ADP was founded in 1965 and has grown to become one of the most respected and stable practices in the United Kingdom.  The practice is currently ranked 19th in the Architect’s Journal AJ100 Annual Survey of UK practices, and is certified to both ISO14001 environmental, and ISO9001 quality, standards. We have also held Investors in People accreditation since 2000.

 From our original office in Henley, servicing clients in the Thames Valley area, ADP has grown to international standing and now has studios in Birmingham, Delhi NCR, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Oxford and Sherborne.  Their combined resources of over 100 staff operating from 8 regional studios, 7 in the UK and 1 in India (ADP Building Consultancy Pvt Ltd.) gives an international perspective and a proven capacity to handle a wide-ranging and diverse project portfolio.  This is combined with the flexibility to serve clients from friendly, local studios.

Turner and Townsend

Turner & Townsend is an independent professional services company specialising in programme management, project management, cost management and consulting across the property, infrastructure and natural resources sectors.

With 87 offices in 36 countries, they draw on extensive global and industry experience to manage risk while maximising value and performance during the construction and operation of their clients’ assets.

Northern Bear

“Improving standards in construction by working with people who care”

Northern Bear’s vision is to achieve excellence through specialist support services by performing to the highest level of professionalism for all of thier customers.

Northern Bear continue to commit to raising standards of service and safety in order to achieve maximum value by working in partnership with all of their clients and suppliers whilst avoiding waste and damage to the environment.

They aim to continue to provide market leading specialist building and support services across the North of England and beyond.

Michael Grub Lighting

Michael Grubb Studio is an award winning independent practice that takes architectural lighting design in a new direction defined by engagement with the client, the space and the brand. The practice offers consultancy, strategy, design and creative services in all areas of lighting design including; Masterplanning, Public Realm, Retail & Leisure, Exterior, Interior, Exhibition, Heritage, Light-Art and Events.


Based in North Tyneside but operating throughout the region, kyoob provides comprehensive building engineering consultancy services, assisting you from the earliest stages of a project through to its completion and handover.