Build Update, 1 February 2017: Becoming a construction site

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

Anyone who lives, works, eats, drinks or walks up and down Tavistock Place will have noticed some very visible changes over the last couple of weeks!

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sam Davey, put the first spade in the ground as part of our official ground breaking ceremony for the History Centre on 16 January – since then the road has altered on an almost daily basis.

Photograph of Councillor Sam Davey and representatives from the History Centre project and Willmott Dixon at the official ground breaking ceremony on 16 January 2017
Councillor Sam Davey and representatives from the History Centre project and Willmott Dixon at the official ground breaking ceremony on 16 January 2017.

Tavistock Place runs between the back of the Museum and Central Library buildings and St Luke’s Church. The section of road in between them is now closed. In due course it will be transformed into a new public area with pedestrian links through to North Hill and to Chapel Street.

Tavistock Place was a public square before the Museum and Central Library were built and the external pulpit that still exists outside St Luke’s Church is a reminder of this. Our aim is to create a vibrant space that provides us with lots of scope for hosting a wide range of outdoor events and activities.

Before that happens there’s a lot of other work that needs to take place. The first thing we’ve done is create a turning area. This has been made by knocking down a wall and using some of the space in the car park outside the Museum’s Annexe building. The space will enable traffic to turn around using what will eventually become a dead end. Here are some images showing how the work has happened.

Photograph showing a digger outside the Museum Annexe building
Digger at the ready!
Photograph of the ground being dug for the Plymouth History Centre turning head
The wall is down and work is underway.
Photograph of the Plymouth History Centre turning head being developed
The turning space really starting to take shape.
Photograph of the completed Plymouth History Centre turning head
Tarmac laid and job nearly done!
Photograph of bollards being installed by the Plymouth History Centre turning head
Bollards being installed to complete the work.

While this has been going on hoardings have started going up around the site. Scaffolding will soon be installed and a series of preparatory works undertaken to prepare the area for construction work. Later in the spring some buildings to the rear of the Library will be demolished, paving the way for the new extension which will eventually house the collections from the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, South West Film and Television Archive and South West Image Bank.

Construction work on the History Centre is due to complete in summer 2019 and is being managed by leading independent construction and property services company Willmott Dixon.

Photograph of the History Centre hoardings being installed
Hard at work installing the hoardings.

Monthly hard hat tours of the construction site will be on offer from this spring if you’re interested in finding out more. They are free but places are limited and do need to be booked in advance. Our March hard hat tour is already fully booked but there are places left on our April hard hat tour. More dates will be released soon.

We’ll keep posting monthly updates about the work that’s going on. You can also keep checking the construction site web cam to stay up to date with progress as it happens. Here are day and nighttime shots taken at the beginning and end of the past couple of weeks to wrap up today’s post.

Photograph from the History Centre web cam on the first day of road closure on Tavistock Place/
The first day of Tavistock Place being closed so the site can be prepared.
Photograph from the web cam on 01.02.17 of the History Centre construction site
Another shot from a few days later. Although it’s dark you can see that progress with installing the hoardings along the back of the Library and Museum buildings has been made.
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