Build Update, 18 October 2017: The tower crane goes up

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

I’ve come across a few images this month that show the construction site from different vantage points to the ones I take photos from so I thought I’d start this post by sharing them. The first couple were taken by a colleague during a hard hat tour in mid-September. The third image was taken by our film production company when they were setting up a camera on site at the end of September.

The images help give a better understanding of the size of the space where our extension will be built. In the third image you can also really see the progress that has been made with the reduced level dig.

The Box Construction Site 19 September 2017

The Box Construction Site 19 September 2017

The Box Construction Site 29 September 2017

The most visible change on site since our last #BuildUpdate has been the addition of a tower crane.

Tower cranes are a common fixture at most major construction sites. Rising high into the air and reaching out just as far, they’re pretty hard to miss! There’s a great deal of regeneration taking place in Plymouth at the moment so there are a few of these currently dotted around the city’s skyline. Here are a couple of images of ours. The first was taken from the bottom end of Tavistock Place. The second was taken from Chapel Lane.

Tower crane on site at The Box, October 2017

Tower crane on site at The Box, October 2017

Our tower crane measures 40 metres high and took a few days to assemble when it was delivered to site. If you’re standing in the North Hill/Drake Circus area it’s clearly visible above all the rooftops. The construction crew will use it to lift a range of heavy building materials that are needed for our extension. You can find out more in this video clip.

Thanks to Willmott Dixon for their help with making this short video. We’ll be back next month with another building and construction round up.

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Build Update, 20 September 2017: Latest site updates

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

Has a month really gone by already? How about 12 of them? Since our last #BuildUpdate we’ve reached a whole year since the Museum and Art Gallery closed so building and construction could start. Time certainly flies when you have a huge redevelopment project to deliver!

Just in case you didn’t see our social media posts on 3 September, here’s a throwback to the images from our fun-filled ‘Wrap Party’. Click on the picture below to see the full album……….

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……….and here’s the video that marked the occasion too. In some ways it feels like we’ve been closed for longer, in other ways it feels like it was only yesterday.

On site, progress continues to be made with the piling works that I mentioned in our August post. We’re expecting the delivery of a crane soon as well. This will take a few days to put up but once it’s ready things should shift up yet another gear. I’ll have more information about this next month. Ourselves and our building contractors Willmott Dixon are also in the process of getting two large banners produced to go on the front of the scaffolding on North Hill. I’ll have more on this next month too.

Scaffolding has continued to go up around St Luke’s Church and the protective shrink wrap has also been installed.

Photograph of the construction shrink wrap around St Luke's Church, Plymouth September 2017 Photograph of the construction shrink wrap around St Luke's Church, Plymouth September 2017

Works are also ongoing inside St Luke’s to protect the pews that are staying and to level out the ground.

Photograph of the inside of St Luke's Church August 2017

Our programme of Hard Hat Tours continues with great feedback and attendance. There are only a few places left on the 2pm tour next Friday (29 September). Spaces on the tours on 27 October and 24 November are also up for grabs – don’t leave it too late to book!

Photograph of a group of people on a hard hat tour at The Box, Plymouth

Here’s the latest footage from the construction site web cam:

I started this post with an anniversary and I’m going to finish with one too. It’s a slightly belated mention, but Willmott Dixon recently celebrated their Devon Office’s first anniversary – congratulations to them.

Thanks for reading. There’ll be more updates from the site next month.

Build Update, 23 August 2017: More progress on site

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

Since our last #BuildUpdate the demolition of the post-war extension at the back of the former Central Library has been completed.

Photograph of the demolition work at The Box construction site, August 2017

With the building cleared you can really see the extent of the site for the first time – take a look at our web cam shot from 9 August below. A reduced level dig which will create the level surface needed for construction work, and piling which will provide the structural support needed for construction work, are both now underway. Don’t forget, you can keep a regular eye on the footage from our web cam via our website.

Photograph from The Box web cam, 9 August 2017

Another way to stay up to date with progress is by coming along to our Hard Hat Tours. We have now unveiled a new series of dates and times for the rest of the year. The tours have proven to be really popular so far, so if you want to come along it’s best to book your place as quickly as possible. Find out more from the what’s on section of our website.

You can also get an insight into what happens on one of our Hard Hat Tours in this video clip. A big thanks to our construction and regeneration specialists Willmott Dixon for their cooperation with making the video and for running the tours. Just click on the arrow to watch the video now (running time 1 minute 51 seconds).

Other developments this month include the completion of the scaffolding to the North Hill elevation of the former Museum and Art Gallery building. The scaffold ‘shrink wrap’ is also now in place and will protect the fabric of the building.

Photograph of the scaffold shrink wrap at The Box, Plymouth - August 2017

Those of you who use Regent Street and Tavistock Place will have noticed that scaffolding to part of the exterior of St Luke’s Church is also now in place. It’s been another productive month!

Photograph of scaffolding to the rear of the St Luke's Church building at The Box, Plymouth - 16 August 2017

That’s all for this round up. We’ll have another #BuildUpdate for you in September that highlights yet more progress on site……….

Build Update, 19 July 2017: Onwards and upwards

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

We’re mid-way through July already and there’s plenty more progress on site.

Watch the web cam footage from last month for an overview of what happened in June.

The mechanical demolition work that started in the middle of June continues. Here are some quick shots that show you how progress is being made.

Photograph of demolition work at the Plymouth History Centre - June 2017

The work to remove the non-Listed portion of the former Central Library is crucial to the development of the History Centre. Once it’s gone it will create the space needed to construct what we affectionately refer to as our ‘box in the sky’.

Photograph of demolition work at the Plymouth History Centre site on 3 July 2017

This is the extension where the collections from the South West Image Bank, South West Film and Television Archive and Plymouth and West Devon Record Office will be stored.

At the moment all three archives are in need of a new home and are being stored in locations around the city that are no longer fit for purpose. The archives are extremely important and require specialist environmental conditions to ensure that what’s contained within is preserved to as high a standard as possible. Creating the new extension will enable us to achieve these things – plus it will look great and will provide a wonderful focal point for the History Centre as a whole, completely transforming Tavistock Place.

Visual of the Plymouth History Centre extension

Those of you who walk or drive up and down North Hill will have noticed how the scaffolding scheme is nearly covering the entire Museum and Art Gallery building now. Here’s an image from about 10 days ago showing how far the scaffolders have progressed.

Scaffolding on the former Museum and Art Gallery in Plymouth, 3 July 2017

I’ll close this post with a link to our April to June 2017 Progress Report video – a testament to just how much has been achieved in the last three months, both on site and elsewhere.

Build Update, 21 June 2017: Major milestones

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

We’ve got some major pieces of news to round up in this month’s #BuildUpdate!

It’s hard to believe we’re more than half way through June already. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the most recent time lapse video from the construction site web cam. This covers everything that happened during May – you can really see the scaffolding starting to take shape.

Speaking of scaffolding, here are a couple of images taken from the North Hill side of the site. Hopefully these give you a really good idea of the extent of the scheme.

The scaffolding at the Plymouth History Centre, June 2017
In this image you can see how the scheme has now moved on to cover the former City Museum and Art Gallery building as well.

The scaffolding at the Plymouth History Centre, June 2017

In another exciting development, demolition of the post-war extension to the rear of the former Central Library began on Tuesday 13 June.

We’ve had lots of comments from people who are concerned that we are demolishing the Museum and Library buildings in their entirety – but fear not! We are only removing the non-Listed section at the back of the Library plus a few small outbuildings. Aside from this we will be retaining and using as much of the beautiful Edwardian buildings as possible.

Here’s a short video featuring representatives from our construction company Willmott Dixon outlining what’s happening. As Steve Killer, Assistant Site Manager explains: “We’re starting the mechanical demolition as we refer to it and will be demolishing the portion of the building that was added on after the damage caused by the (Second World) War. We’ve been through a process of separating the parts of the building that will be staying and the bit that needs to go – we call this our demolition cut-line.”

The other major news this month is that we have signed a massive £22.6 million contract with Willmott Dixon for all our major construction work. The signing of the contract marks a new phase for the History Centre project and has involved a huge number of people and a great deal of hard work. 

Major construction work will begin this summer with a projected completion date of late summer 2019. The work will include the creation of a brand new extension which will house the archive collections from the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, South West Image Bank and South West Film and Television Archive.

Here’s Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader, Plymouth City Council (left) and John Boughton, Deputy Managing Director, Willmott Dixon (right) signing the contract.

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You can read the full news story here if you’d like to find out more. I’ll have another #BuildUpdate for you in late July.

 

Build Update: 24 May 2017, Discoveries and Hoardings

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

Welcome to this month’s update on all things to do with the building and construction work that’s taking place at the History Centre site.

Firstly, here’s the latest time lapse video from the web cam which takes us back to everything that happened during April.

You may have seen the report in the Herald but work at St Luke’s Church has unearthed some old gravestones. Our building contractors already knew they were underneath the old timber floor and that there were no bodies to be found! The gravestones were revealed when the floor boards inside the church were ripped up. An archaeologist was present at the time to make sure all the relevant information about them was recorded.

Picture by Paul Slater/PSI – http://paulslaterimages.newsprints.co.uk

St Luke’s Church stopped functioning as a place of worship in 1964 and the floor was rebuilt – hence the reason why there was no need to expect any hidden surprises! In these two images courtesy of the Herald you can get a good idea of how St Luke’s Church currently looks now the floor boards and the false ceiling have been removed.

Picture by Paul Slater/PSI – http://paulslaterimages.newsprints.co.uk
Picture by Paul Slater/PSI – http://paulslaterimages.newsprints.co.uk

Elsewhere on site, progress continues to be made with the scaffolding. This is most visible from the North Hill/Drake Circus side of the former Central Library building where you can really see the extent of the scheme.

Scaffolding being put up over the former Central Library in Plymouth

The other most visible change is that the graphics have at last been installed on our hoardings! As well as acknowledging our partners and funders, and highlighting the ‘Museum On Tour’ programme we’re currently running in a range of offsite locations, the graphics feature large-scale black and white images of scenes and people from Plymouth. The images we’ve used are from the collections at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and South West Image Bank.

The graphics were expertly installed over a period of four days by Atlas Graphics – not bad going considering they had to apply multiple sections of vinyl over an area of more than 150 metres in length by 5 metres high. I hope you’ll agree that now they’re up they look really smart.

I’ll be back again in June with more updates. In the meantime, make sure you keep an eye on the blog for collections, History Centre Heroes and ‘Museum On Tour’ updates too.

Build Update, 27 April 2017: Making progress

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

The History Centre construction site continues to be busy as our contractors Willmott Dixon make progress.

Demolition work and scaffolding are the two most visible things that have been happening since our last update. On some days it’s been pretty noisy working in the Museum Annexe with the sound of diggers and rubble being moved around – but it’s also confirmation that things are moving forward!

Photograph of the demolition work at the Plymouth History Centre
Work carries on as the sun starts to go down on 4 April

One of the main elements of the demolition this month has been the knocking down of the toilet block at the back of the former City Museum and Art Gallery. Weaver Demolition are the company working on this.

Demolition work takes place on the Plymouth History Centre site April 2017
The toilet block on the former City Museum and Art Gallery was demolished this month
The toilet block on the former Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery building is demolished April 2017
A close up of the demolition in action

Great progress continues to be made with the scaffolding too. As mentioned in last month’s post this is quite an extensive piece of work. The two shots below taken three weeks apart give an indication of its ongoing advancement. LTC Scaffolding have certainly been busy!

Photograph from the History Centre web cam on 7 April 2017
A shot from the web cam on 7 April
Photograph from the History Centre web cam on 26 April 2017
A shot from the web cam on 26 April

This shot taken from the upstairs of the Caffeine Club gives you a different vantage point and a closer view of the scaffolding that’s been put up to the side and over the roof of the former Central Library.

Scaffolding going up on the History Centre construction site in Plymouth on 11 April 2017
A different view of the scaffolding taken on 11 April

Willmott Dixon also do a lot of community engagement work and the History Centre was one of the sites that they recently opened up as part of the national Open Doors initiative.

‘Open Doors’ is a chance for people who are interested in a career in the construction industry to see behind the scenes and learn more about some of the UK’s major ‘live’ construction sites. The History Centre was one of 130 sites that took part across England, Scotland and Wales – 31 of which were Willmott Dixon sites. Students from the University of Plymouth and South Devon College visited for a talk and tour.

Willmott Dixon also started a series of ‘Hard Hat Tours’ for us this month.

The first one was really successful with lots of interested people, questions and discussions. Many thanks to them and everyone who came along. The next tour takes place tomorrow and is fully booked but a new series of dates for the rest of this year have now been released, so book your places now!

Hard Hat Tour attendees at the Plymouth History Centre construction site on 31 March 2017
The attendees to our first-ever Hard Hat Tour

I’ll wrap up this post with the most recent footage we have from the web cam – just in case you haven’t already seen it on our YouTube channel. This contains all the footage from March – just look at how many different types of weather all those working on site had to contend with!