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When Tate first opened its doors to the public in 1897 it had just one site, displaying a small

collection
of British artworks. Today Tate has four major sitesand the national collection of British art from 1500
to the present day and international modern and contemporary art, which includes nearly 70,000
artworks. A number of new developments are planned for Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Tate St
Ives to ensure the galleries continue to expand.
Henry Tate
In 1889 Henry Tate, an industrialist who had made his fortune as a sugar refiner, offered his
collection of British art to the nation. There was no space for it in theNational Gallery and the creation
of a new gallery dedicated to British art was seen as a worthwhile aim and the search for a suitable site
began. This gallery would house not only Henry Tates gift but also the works of British artists from
various other collections.

Sir John Everett Millais, Bt
Ophelia 1851-2
Oil on canvas
support: 762 x 1118 mm frame: 1105 x 1458 x 145 mm
Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
View the main page for this artwork





The gallery at Millbank, London
In 1892 the site of a former prison, the Millbank Penitentiary, was chosen for the new National Gallery
of British Art, which would be under the Directorship of the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square. The
prison, used as the departure point for sending convicts to Australia, had been demolished in 1890.
Sidney R.J. Smith was chosen as the architect for the new gallery. His design is the core building that
we see today, a grand porticoed entranceway and central dome which resembles a temple. The statue
of Britannia with a lion and a unicorn on top of the pediment at the Millbank entrance emphasised its
function as a gallery of British art. The gallery opened its doors to the public in 1897, displaying 245
works in eight rooms from British artists dating back to 1790.
Growth of the gallery
Since its original opening, the Millbank site has had seven major buildingextensions. In its first 15
years the Millbank site more than doubled in size, including the addition of seven rooms designed by
the architect W.H. Romaine-Walker and funded by the arts and antique dealer J.J.(Sir Joseph)
Duveen, built to display the Turner Bequest.
By 1917, the remit of the gallery changed. It was made responsible for the national collection of British
art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art Romaine-Walker
was again commissioned to design the new Modern Foreign Galleries, which were funded by Joseph
Duveens son, Lord Duveen. These opened in 1926 and a year later a series ofmurals by Rex
Whistler were unveiled in the restaurant.
Tate Gallery
In 1932, the gallery officially adopted the name Tate Gallery, by which it had popularly been known as
since its opening. Five years later the new Duveen Sculpture Galleries opened. Again funded by Lord
Duveen and designed by Romaine-Walker and Gilbert Jenkins, these two 300 feet long barrel-vaulted
galleries were the first public galleries in England designed specifically for the display of sculpture. By
this point, electric lighting had also been installed in all the rooms enabling the gallery to
stay open until 5pm whatever the weather.
In 1955, Tate Gallery became wholly independent from the National Gallery and discussions began on
an extension that would increase the its exhibition space. A major extension in the north-east corner,
designed by Richard Llewelyn-Davies opened in 1979. In the same year, the gallery took over the
adjacent disused military hospital, enabling the building of the new Clore Gallery, designed by Sir
James Stirling and funded by the Clore Foundation. It opened in 1987 and went on to win a Royal
Institute of British Architects award the following year.


Getting to Tate Modern
Journey planner
To find your quickest route to Tate Modern, use Transport for Londons Journey planner.
By Tube
The nearest London Underground stations to Tate Modern are:
Southwark (Jubilee Line, 600 metres approx.)
Blackfriars (District and Circle Line, 800 metres approx.) has now been reopened
St Pauls (Central Line, 1,100 metres approx.)
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
By bus
The following buses stop near Tate Modern:
Routes 45, 63 and 100 stop on Blackfriars Bridge Road
Routes RV1 and 381 stop on Southwark Street
Route 344 stops on Southwark Bridge Road
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
The red spots on the map below show the location of these bus stops.
By train
The nearest mainline train stations to Tate Modern are:
Blackfriars (800 metres approx.)
London Bridge (1,100 metres approx.)
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
By boat
Tate Boat runs every forty minutes along the Thames between Tate Britain and Tate Modern. Other
river services run between Millbank Pier and Bankside Pier.
London river services
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
By bike
The nearest Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations are located on New Globe Street and
Southwark Street.
Cycle Hire
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
By taxi or Dial-a-Ride
A drop off / pick up point is situated on Holland Street, just outside the main entrance.
Taxis and minicabs
Dial-a-Ride
If you are travelling by Car you will need to Pay Congestion Charge
By car
There are no parking facilities at Tate Modern or in the surrounding streets. Public transport is the
easiest way of getting to the gallery. Please note that if you are travelling via Car you will need to Pay
Congestion Charge
Road users
Parking provision for disabled visitors
By coach
A drop off / pick up point is situated on Southwark Street, a short walk from the main entrance.