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.