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.

200617-Museum-Contract-Signing_001-1024x680

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!

Build Update, 30 March 2017: A hive of activity

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

If you’ve been checking out our web cam on a regular basis you’ll have realised that things have been really busy on site since our last #BuildUpdate post four weeks ago. A quick glance at these two shots taken a couple of weeks apart gives you an idea of the increase in activity.

A web cam shot taken on 13 March 2017 of the Plymouth History Centre construction site
A web cam shot taken on 13 March 2017
A web cam shot taken on 30 March 2017 of the Plymouth History Centre construction site
A web cam shot taken on 30 March 2017

Five key things have happened since our last report.

The first is the removal of some Japanese Knotweed from a patch of land on the site.  This invasive plant was introduced to the UK in the late 1800s and can create a whole range of problems.

The second is what is known as a ‘soft strip’ in the former Central Library. A ‘soft strip’ involves the removal of internal fixtures and fittings, ultimately leaving a ‘frame’ ready for building and construction work. Carpet tiles have been taken up, windows, doors and door frames have been removed. You can get a good idea of the work that’s been undertaken from this image, which shows a part of the Library which is scheduled for demolition.

A photograph of part of Plymouth's Central Library ready for demolitition
This part of the former Central Library building has been prepped ready for demolition. Image taken by Penny Cross, Plymouth Herald

The third is the appearance of another set of hoardings – this time at the back of Chapel Lane – shown here on a lovely sunny day slightly earlier in the month.

Hoardings on Chapel Lane, Plymouth as part of the History Centre construction site
New hoardings at the back of the History Centre site

The fourth is the demolition of some small outbuildings in the car park next to St Luke’s Church. This work largely took place during the weeks of 6 March and 13 March. The demolition will enable us to create a walkway from Chapel Street through to Tavistock Place, providing easy access to the History Centre complex and the public piazza.

Demolition work begins at the Plymouth History Centre site - 10 March 2017
Demolition work begins. This shot was taken on 10 March 2017 from Chapel Lane
Demolition work at the Plymouth History Centre site - 28 March 2017
The demolition of one of the St Luke’s Church outbuildings complete. This shot was taken on 28 March 2017 from Tavistock Place

The fifth and probably most publicly visible piece of work is the scaffolding. This started to go up on 20 March and, due to its extent, will take around five weeks to install.

Scaffolding on the former Plymouth Central Library building - March 2017
Scaffolding has started to go up on the former Central Library building

A temporary roof has also been put up over the former Central Library building. The existing roof will be taken off and a new one put on. This work will take place under the temporary roof meaning the rest of the building will be kept dry.

The temporary roof on the former Plymouth Central Library building - March 2017
A new roof will be created under the temporary one now in place over the former Central Library building. Image taken by Penny Cross, Plymouth Herald

We’ll be back with another #BuildUpdate in late April when there will no doubt be lots more work to report on. We’ll finish with our latest progress report video which gives you an overview of a number of things that have been achieved for the History Centre from January to March 2017.

Build Update, 1 March 2017: The enabling works continue

by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four weeks since our first ‘Build Update’ and time certainly seems to be passing quickly as things continue to progress on site.

To kick this post off, here’s a quick recap of what happened during the first three weeks after we officially broke ground, courtesy of the construction site web cam. You can see the road closure start to come into effect on Tavistock Place – and just how bad the weather in January was at one point!

Willmott Dixon, our building contractors, are currently completing a series of what are known as ‘enabling works’ – essentially prepping the site and sorting out all the things that are needed so the major works can begin.

This means having a range of sub-contractors on site as well. Each day as we turn up for work there are different vehicles from a range of organisations around the site.

The two most visible developments over the past month are, firstly, the installation of the hoardings on Tavistock Place and North Hill. There are some white header boards to be added to the North Hill side which runs along the front of the Museum and former Central Library, but otherwise these are now complete. Currently painted in Willmott Dixon’s distinct yellow, they will soon be covered with a series of graphics and images from the History Centre.

Front of  Plymouth City Museum with hoardings as building work gets underway for the History Centre in February 2017

We’re working with Falmouth-based 2020 Projects on the design element of the hoardings graphics, and with Plymouth-based Atlas Graphics on the production and installation – a true regional collaboration! It’s a job that’s taken up a fair amount of my time over the past few weeks so I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished graphics in situ. I’ll update you on these in a future post and will no doubt be sharing images of them on our Facebook and Twitter feeds too.

The second most visible change is the delivery of the site offices. These are located in a two-storey format in the former car park outside St Luke’s Church. They were moved onto site with the help of a crane.

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Here’s an image of them from the web cam which shows their location properly. Once the steps arrive for the top storey these will be complete.

The Plymouth History Centre construction site taken from a web cam on 27 February 2017

More changes are due soon in the form of scaffolding and the ‘over-roofing’ of the part of the Central Library building where demolition work will eventually take place. We’ll be back next month with news of further progress. In the meantime, here’s the time lapse footage from February to bring you right up to date.

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.