WMF/PMC/YCBA Research Scholarship

Each year, the World Monuments Fund (WMF), the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), and the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) offer a summer graduate student research scholarship that focuses on a specific WMF site. One scholarship will be offered per year for an applicant to conduct research at the site that best matches his or her interests. Applicants to the program should write with specific reference to the project for which they wish to apply, along with their qualifications and reasons for their interest in that particular site.  


The WMF/PMC/YCBA scholarship, available through the Center, is open to graduate students in all disciplines who are affiliated with Yale University. The number of scholarships offered each year is limited to one.


The summer 2019 application cycle is now closed. The next application cycle (2020) will open in the spring of 2020. Please check back for further details.

2019 Projects

The following descriptions outline the projects offered in 2019. Full project descriptions can be viewed here.

Sea-ChangeBackpool’s Piers


The first pier at Blackpool was North Pier, opened on May 21, 1863. The railway arrived at Blackpool in 1846, and the location for the pier was chosen to be as close to Blackpool North Station as possible. A pavilion was added in 1874, where symphonies and recitals were performed. This was followed in 1903 with an amusement pavilion at the landward end of the pier. Subsequent fires and other damage alongside the demand for new entertainments led to several phases of redevelopment which reflected the development of Blackpool as a whole.

The success of North Pier encouraged developers to expand Blackpool, opening up the seafront toward the town center, and the Blackpool South Jetty Company announced it would build a second pier opposite the new rail station in 1864. When it was completed and opened on May 30, 1868, the emphasis was on entertainment rather than strolling or promenading, and admission was free.

In 1892, construction of a third pier began further south. This was Victoria Pier, which opened on Good Friday 1893 and boasted a Grand Pavilion, opening in May of the same year, with a capacity of three thousand people.

Through the latter part of the twentieth century, Central and South piers lost their remaining theaters, which were converted into family amusement centers and restaurants. Today the North Pier theater survives as one of only five working pier theaters in the United Kingdom, and the only example on the west coast of England.

Research aims and objectives

Our work at Blackpool will take a variety of forms, from on-site restoration to awareness-raising. However, the key focus of the 2019 Yale Scholarship is to explore the climate change challenge. In September 2019, WMF is hosting a major conference on climate change and coastal heritage in Blackpool on September 4–6. Titled Sea Change, we anticipate up to 250 delegates from across the world with an academic and practical interest in sharing solutions about the impact of climate change on coastal heritage. We would like the Yale scholar in 2019 to contribute toward this event, in terms of research, planning, and participation.

Download the Sea-Change Call for Papers.

Government House, Antigua and Barbuda


In 1799, there was an effort made to find suitable housing for the incoming governor of the Leeward Isles, Ralph Payne, Lord Lavington (1739–1807). A West Indian grandee who was noted for his opulence, this was not an easy task, and many options were exhausted until several properties were pieced together to create the official residence. It is currently thought that at least two of the earlier structures on the properties were adapted into the ambitious building campaign authorized. He resided at the Parsonage nearby during the construction process, working at the Government House during the day until his death in 1807. As a large slave owner, Lavington built quarters on the property, which have miraculously survived. These buildings are thought to be the most extensive buildings of their kind in the Caribbean.

In 1834, Antigua became the only British Caribbean colony to progress from slavery to full emancipation, which was a relatively stable transition. The building survived the St. John’s fire of 1841 and the great earthquake of 1843, and was described in 1844: “Situated in a pleasant and open place in the suburbs, the property embraces a wide extent of prospect. It is a genteel West Indian residence, possessing some good apartments and having its stabling and outbuildings upon a respectable scale.” 

Additions were made in 1860 in preparation for Prince Alfred’s royal visit in 1861. The earliest surviving architectural plans were drafted in 1879 and provide details of how the buildings were organized within a larger landscape plan. From the early twentieth century to the present day, Government House has narrowly escaped demolition on many occasions as it has slipped into disrepair.

The restoration initiative has begun, and work is taking place on the main building and west buildings, as well as the grounds. The building and its historic two plus-acre garden are in the urban center of Antigua and Barbuda’s early seventeenth-century capital, St. John’s. Government House is surrounded by historic outbuildings formerly serving as carriage houses, stables, laundry, kitchens, servant’s quarters, early cisterns, limestone filters, and a masonry perimeter wall, which like Government House itself, are all in dire need of thoughtful restoration.

Research aims and objectives  

The overall research aim of this scholarship is to understand more about the history and architecture of Government House and the building’s role through time, which will then be used to inform the restoration and interpretation of Government House. The candidate will be responsible for thorough research into relevant archives in Antigua and the UK. Although enough research has taken place to begin the project, there is a need for more work.

The “Kasbah” and Ice Factory, Grimsby


The Grimsby Ice Factory is a unique survivor of the Victorian industrial era. The Grade II* structure is the earliest and largest-known surviving ice factory in the world, and the sole example from this period to retain its machinery. In its heyday, Grimsby was one of the busiest fishing ports in the world, and its ice factory was built with an attention to detail worthy of the best Victorian industrial architecture.

Grimsby’s livelihood was tied to seafaring and trade since its establishment by the Danes in the ninth century, but gradual silting of its harbor led to a period of decline. The modern renaissance of the seaport began in the middle of the nineteenth century, catalysed by the arrival of the railway in 1848 and the opening of the Grimsby Docks in 1852. The Grimsby Ice Factory was created to meet the growing demand for ice to supply merchants and fishing boats.

The surrounding precinct of docks, quays, transportation infrastructure, industrial facilities, and shops became a bustling hub of commercial activity known locally as the “Kasbah.” The Kasbah area was created a Conservation Area in 2017—the supporting document is appended to this brief and provides a detailed history of the site and its significance.

Grimsby remains a major port today, but the ice factory closed in 1990 due to decreased demand. Following decades of abandonment, community members set up the Great Grimsby Ice Factory Trust (GGIFT) in 2010.

Research aims and objectives  

The overall research aim of this scholarship is to understand more about the history and architecture of the Kasbah area of Grimsby’s historic docks, including the Ice Factory, a World Monuments 2014 Watch site, in order to support a variety of interpretation projects. Research would include the history and architecture of the buildings but also delve into the social history of this area, which (within living memory) was a busy and active place.

In terms of the social dimension, a strand of particular interest is the role of immigrant communities in the industry. The original Grimsby Pier Railway Station (located near the Dock Tower) was later converted into an “Immigrants Home” to accommodate travelers coming from Eastern Europe from the 1860s onward.  These people often remained in Grimsby, unable to afford the ticket to Liverpool (from where they intended to make their way to the USA via Ellis Island). Some of these immigrants, of course, were Jewish. While Grimsby no longer has a significant Jewish population, it does have a synagogue and Jewish cemetery—the only synagogue in the whole of Lincolnshire—about a mile away from the Kasbah. Again, the GGIFT have useful contacts who can help the scholar to explore this part of Grimsby’s past.