A NEW charitable trust which will manage historic buildings and museums has appointed its first head.

The Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust will take over the management of venues and collections from the city council in October.

The organisation will be responsible for the Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Hove Museum and Art Gallery, the Booth Museum of Natural History and Preston Manor.

Hedley Swain has been appointed to lead the trust following the retirement of Janita Bagshawe, who led the service for 14 years.

The trust said that Mr Swain, who has previously worked for the Arts Council, joins the organisation at one of the most challenging periods in its history, as the closure of all museums during the lockdown led to a loss of more than £1million in revenue.

Mr Swain said: “I am incredibly honoured to be taking on this exciting role.

“This is a great museum service and the Royal Pavilion is an iconic building. The culture of the city is really important to the people of Brighton and Hove and the council continues to be incredibly supportive.

“The new trust has put together an impressive set of trustees and already has fabulous staff. I look forward to working with all of them to make the new trust the success it deserves to be.”

Mr Swain will be responsible for the loan of 120 items from the Royal Collection on display at the Royal Pavilion until 2021 and the National Lottery Heritage Fund project to restore the Pavilion Gardens.

He will also oversee the launch of a photography show on David Bowie in October and a new fundraising initiative.

Michael Bedingfield, chairman of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust, said: “I am delighted Hedley is joining the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust as our first chief executive.

“This appointment was a crucial one and Hedley is one of the leading museum professionals of his generation.

“His wide-ranging experience will be invaluable when he joins us next month.

“The level of interest in the CEO position was exceptional and underlines the high profile of the Royal Pavilion and Museums, both nationally and internationally.

"The Royal Pavilion reopened in July and has been attracting impressive visitor numbers already. I see this as a real indicator of the key role our museums play in Brighton and Hove’s visitor economy.”