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 sites and 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.
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 the National 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 Tate’s gift but also the works of British artists from various other collections.