THE number of people visiting Bradford's National Science and Media Museum has fallen by almost ten per cent in a year, according to the latest Government figures.

However, the drop off of 49,274 visitors comes after a major boost the previous year, thanks to the new Wonderlab gallery and astronaut Tim Peak's spacecraft going on display.

The figures were released by the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport and include all DCMS-sponsored museums, including the National Science and Media Museum.

They cover the number of people visiting each venue each month and are published quarterly. The latest figures show a full year figure for the financial year, 2018/19 for the first time.

However, the data shows that the longer term trend at the Bradford museum is for visitors to increase.

In the past five years - so from April 2014 - visitors have risen by 10.0 per cent at the museum, which was known as the National Media Museum until 2017.

There were 414,077 visitors in 2014/15, rising to 460,023 the following year. A fall in 2016/17 saw a 12.0 per cent drop to 404,610 visitors, before the almost 100,000 extra visitors last year.

The latest figures for 2018/19, show an fall of 9.8 per cent to 455,314 people.

The data follows similar figures released in March by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions for the calendar year, showing a drop of 6.8 per cent in 2018, with 459,808 visitors.

At the time Jo Quinton-Tulloch, director of the National Science and Media Museum, reiterated that the long-term trend for visitor numbers were still on the way up.

She said: “After an exceptional 2017 – which featured the launch of our new interactive gallery, Wonderlab, a new brand, and the extraordinary display of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft – we were naturally aware that we could experience a very big drop in visits in 2018. But that’s not been the case.

“Indeed, in 2018 we welcomed our second highest number of visits since 2013. I believe that’s a sign that the people of Bradford – and well beyond – are really engaged with the improvements we’ve been making and our growing focus on the science behind light and sound technologies.

“I’m confident we’ll see an increase again next year, thanks to our summer exhibition marking 50 years since the moon landing, delivering another Bradford Science Festival with partners across the district, and adding to the record numbers who enjoyed 2018’s Widescreen Weekend.”

A few years ago the museum’s future was uncertain, after it was revealed in 2016 that visitor numbers had dropped by 40 per cent from 2008.

It led to a successful local campaign to save the museum from closure, and its owners, the Science Museum Group, deciding on a major rebranding, opening with a new name in spring 2017.