Seven Stories The National Centre for Children's Books wins North East Tourism Award.



Seven Stories is delighted to have won Large Visitor Attraction at the 2015 North East England Tourism Awards. 

The result was announced on Tuesday 24 November at Newcastle Civic Centre. Seven Stories will now go onto compete on a national stage at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in 2015. Others in the large venue category running alongside Seven Stories were Sage Gateshead and the National Glass Centre, with special mention to fellow winners of the award - Beamish Museum. 

2015 was a busy year for Seven Stories, marking its 10th birthday with a series of events, which began with a visit from the Duchess of Cornwall in January and culminating in a Christmas fundraising event hosted by Michael Morpurgo, who donated his archive to Seven Stories this year, at Newcastle Cathedral.  Seven Stories was refurbished in this year, with a £750k scheme investing in the fabric of the building to make it even more magical and enjoyable for visitors, improving how the building works for visitors and making it more energy efficient. Since re-opening in July with three brand new exhibitions, Seven Stories has seen high numbers of visitors, eager to enjoy the new look building and brand new exhibitions. Especially popular are  Rhyme Around the World, a celebration of nursery rhyme and song, and Illustrating Harry Potter, an exhibition that showcases the work of Jim Kay, who is illustrating JK Rowling's ever popular series, both currently on show. 

Seven Stories is unique in the UK, founded to save, celebrate and share children's books as an essential part of our culture and childhood.  Seven Stories leads the way in curating immersive children's book exhibitions. As well as being enjoyed by 80,000 children and grown ups at Seven Stories, its exhibitions have toured to all four nations of the UK and enjoyed by nearly 1.5m people. Seven Stories also works with 30,000 children, young people and parents a year, through its school and outreach programme.  

Kate Edwards, Chief Executive says, "We are delighted by this Award. Though physically we are on the small side compared to our colleagues, the singularity of what we do, our National significance and reach, means that we punch above our weight. Seven Stories is destination for families from the Northeast and beyond, and we enjoy hosting events and exhibitions with some of the biggest names in children's books.  

Kate goes on, "The Northeast has been highlighted by research as a region lagging behind in literacy, especially for disadvantaged children and young people.  Seven Stories, with our joyful and inclusive approach to creative reading and writing, storytelling and sharing has an important part to play in bringing about change."

Seven Stories celebrates its 10th birthday this year which has also seen a plethora of key achievements including the acquisition of Michael Morpurgo's entire archive and plans for a forthcoming exhibition of his work; the launch of Seven Stories first publication compiled by Collection Director Sarah Lawrance, Drawn from the Archive and a celebratory event at Westminster this November.  Seven Stories have also welcomed award-winning authors and illustrators including David Walliams, Yasmeen Ismail, Jodi Picoult, Derek Landy and Nick Sharratt.

The North East England Tourism Awards play a major role in showcasing the fantastic range of high quality experiences the North East has to offer. The Awards have had a hugely positive impact on tourism in the North East providing a benchmark for all businesses to aspire to and delivering significant benefit to shortlisted and winning businesses alike. 

The Northern Tourism Alliance is a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the region. The founding members of the alliance are NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northumberland Tourism, Visit County Durham, and The North East Hotels Association. The Awards are also supported by Northumberland County Council, South Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council. 



Kathryn Row, Marketing Manager 

Hannah Lambert, Marketing and Digital Coordinator

Notes to Editor:

Seven Stories – The National Centre for Children’s Books
Seven Stories is The National Centre for Children’s Books – the only museum 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 museum opened in 2005 and its 80,000 visitors/year explore seven floors of galleries, performance and maker 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 read and write creatively 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, Michael Morpurgo, 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. Seven Stories works with children and families from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds through outreach and participation work. In 2014/15 18,000 children and carers took part in activities to build book and story sharing confidence and enjoyment. Since 2005 over 700,000 people have visited Seven Stories.
• Seven Stories is becoming known across the UK through its ambitious touring exhibition programme. Ten of our exhibitions have toured and have been seen by more than 1.4 million people.
• Seven Stories is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. It 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 a strategic partnership with Newcastle University, which aims to improve research and teaching opportunities and to increase its societal impact, to provide work placement opportunities for students, to build opportunities for public engagement and involvement and to develop the shared archival and intellectual assets, putting Newcastle at the forefront of children’s literature and literacy excellence.

Seven Stories has been widely 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.
• Winner of 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.

Key Achievements in 2015:

Seven Stories host celebratory event at the House of Commons

Seven Stories celebrated its 10th birthday with authors, illustrators, publishers and politicians at the House of Commons on 23rd November 2015. The reception was hosted by the Tyneside charity’s MP, Nick Brown, a long standing admirer of Seven Stories’ work, and speakers Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, and children’s author and playwright David Wood OBE.

The purpose of this prestigious event was to highlight Seven Stories’ singular contribution to protecting Britain's outstanding children’s literature tradition, and championing the essential part it plays in children’s culture and reading lives.

Seven Stories launched first publication

Seven Stories launched its first publication, Drawn from the Archive, an engaging exploration of the museum’s illustration collections, written by its Collection Director, Sarah Lawrance. Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books has delved into its own archive to put together a book about children’s illustration, by Collection Director Sarah Lawrance.

Drawn from the Archive: Hidden Histories of Illustration looks at the history of children’s illustration featured in Seven Stories Collection, from the 1930s to the present day. It is published by Seven Stories in association with Walker Books and will be available to buy in paperback from 1 October, £9.99.

Michael Morpurgo Acquisition

Seven Stories is honoured to be the custodian of Michael Morpurgo’s archive. The archive contains draft manuscripts, photographs, notebooks and related correspondence from his first publication It Never Rained (1974, Macmillan) to An Eagle in the Snow (2015, Harper Collins).   Well known and loved works including War Horse (1982, Egmont), Private Peaceful (2003, Harper Collins), On Angel’s Wings (2006, Egmont) and Shadow (2010, Harper Collins) are represented.

Michael Morpurgo is one of Britain’s greatest living authors for children.  His work spans 40 years and a career that has seen the publication of over 150 books for children, traversing wide-ranging topics that explore historical events, natural history and the environment, adventure and family life. Morpurgo is a true champion of children and young people’s culture, creativity and their right to read and enjoy stories. He was instrumental in setting up the Children’s Laureateship in 1997, and his services to children’s literature were recognised in 2006 when he was awarded an OBE.

Capital refurbishment

Seven Stories has been open every day for 10 years, delighting over 700,000 visitors since our unique North East venue opened its doors in 2005. This April Seven Stories underwent an exciting refurbishment, with a £750k scheme investing in the fabric of the building to make it even more magical and enjoyable for visitors, improving how the building works for visitors and making it more energy efficient. The scheme was made possible by generous support from Arts Council England and a number of trusts and foundations. It was scheduled to coincide with Seven Stories’ 10th birthday celebrations, which culminate on the anniversary of our opening date on Wednesday 19 August.