The transport company which took Dippy the Diplodocus on tour for the Natural History Museum will continue providing global fine art logistics services after receiving a £500,000 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan from Barclays.
Williams & Hill specialise in transporting, shipping, packaging, case making, and installing objects including artwork and antiques – and regularly ship artwork to and from events such as the Frieze Art Fair, London and Art Basel in Basel and Miami.
They also undertake a number of special projects, and are currently moving Dippy around the UK on its national tour, which means moving a 21.3 metre-long skeleton comprising 292 bones.
This tour is the largest travelling expedition in the UK and has already been seen by over 1.5 million people, increasing visitor numbers at every partner venue visited so far. It has also had real economic impact on the areas visited.
Dorset County Museum found that Dippy’s visit resulted in an additional £2.25 million boost to local businesses, whilst Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery found that Dippy attracted over 140,000 additional visitors to the city – who ultimately spent more than £4 million.
As part of the Covid-19 response, Dippy is currently in lockdown in Rochdale but – having secured the funding through the CBIL scheme, alongside a six-month capital repayment holiday on their existing facility – Williams & Hill are now planning to take Dippy on to Norwich Cathedral on the final leg.
I had some emotional days having to furlough some of our amazing staff and not sleeping with the worry of how the company could surviveKerry Hill, Williams and Hill
Co-founder Kerry Hill said: “The money hit our account just before Easter, and meant we could take a few days off from the stress of trying to mothball our business.
“At the peak of the crisis, I had some emotional days having to furlough some of our amazing staff and not sleeping with the worry of how the company could survive. Whilst none of us are out of the woods, today I find my company in the safe hands of my team.
“Frankly the adage of ‘cash is king’ has never had more resonance, and with credit control, supportive clients and suppliers, and the support of Barclays, I see the future safety of my company is in great hands.
We have already shared Dippy with more visitors than we ever thought possibleFreya Stannard, Natural History Museum
Lee Collinson, Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Barclays Corporate Banking, said Williams & Hill were “a longstanding clien”t of nearly 20 years.
He added: “The impact of Covid 19-was immediate for them given that they are involved in the Transport and Logistics sector, but through strong management they were able to minimise the impact, and manage to continue trading at a reduced scale, and expect to return to normal as quickly as possible and enhance their reputation with clients.”
Freya Stannard, Head of National Programmes at The Natural History Museum, said: “It is with great excitement that we are now able to begin planning for sharing Dippy with the nation once again. We are currently working with both Number One Riverside, Rochdale and Norwich Cathedral to ensure Dippy’s visits will be as safe and enjoyable as possible for all those eager to meet him.”
“We are incredibly grateful to Williams and Hill for their continued support of the tour and the increased flexibility they have shown through these difficult times. Thanks to them we have already shared Dippy with more visitors than we ever thought possible and been awarded Partnership of the Year at the Museums and Heritage Awards 2019.”