Building contractors have this week moved onto the police station and courthouse site to start work on Petersfield Museum’s ‘Pathways into the Past’ redevelopment and refurbishment project. Enabling work began on the 29th of July with remedial and construction work starting on the 5th of August.
The £3.7 million project is the largest community funded project in Petersfield since the construction of the outdoor swimming pool in 1962 and the Festival Hall in 1935. This has only been made possible with significant support by individual donations, grant giving Trust Funds and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The first phase of work will take place along the eastern wall, between the museum and Petersfield Infant School, taking advantage of the summer holidays to gain access to the site from the school car park. Any outstanding work in this area not completed by the start of September will be completed during the October half-term holiday.
The project will see the demolition of the dog kennels and garages built in the 1960’s to make way for two new exhibition spaces, one of which will allow them to take touring exhibitions from National Museums. All the Victorian architecture will be renovated and conserved with the dripping gutter over the twitten being fixed for the first time in decades!
The interior of the police station will go through major alterations enabling larger display spaces and stores to be created. At the same time the original Victorian police cells will be restored to how they would have been when they were first used in 1858. Parts of the courthouse will also be returned to the original look with specialists conservators advising the museum as to the original colours of walls, doors and other features.
At the front of the museum there will be brick paving, which will allow people to leave an indelible mark on the project by having their name or that of a loved one engraved into one of the bricks for a small donation. These bricks are still available for those who wish to support the project and forms can be picked up from the Museum Project Office on Dragon Street.
The base build is scheduled to be completed in June 2020 and will see the construction of two new exhibition spaces, the Edward Thomas study centre, meeting room, servery and an exciting new outdoor space created in the courtyard. Upon completion of the base build the site will be handed over to specialist fit out contractors to continue to create the magical internal spaces in which the story of Petersfield and the surrounding villages will be told.
After nearly ten years of planning, it is an exciting time for the museum as the physical transformation starts to take place. Readers of The Post will be kept up to date with regular articles as the work progresses.