Team appointed to oversee History Centre development

A key appointment has been made to the team that will drive the development of the £21m Plymouth History Centre.

Plymouth City Council has appointed consultants Atkins to lead the design of the project, which will see Plymouth’s existing museum and art gallery refurbished and expanded to create a major new attraction.

The appointment follows initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) earlier this year – including a £940,300 development grant – for the successful bid of £12.8m towards the Plymouth History Centre.

Atkins, which is one the world’s leading design, engineering and project management firms, will work alongside Faithful + Gould (cost management) and Ward Williams Associates (project management) to develop a design to support the second round application to the HLF in 2016.

The project will be delivered by Atkins’ Exeter-based architecture team, with support from the wider Atkins Group and Plymouth-based consultancy Ward Williams Associates.

The Plymouth History Centre will transform the existing City Museum and Art Gallery in North Hill into a cutting-edge, interactive centre, three times its existing size. It will provide a new home for the city’s five most fascinating and vast historic collections, making them more accessible to everyone.

Councillor Peter Smith, Deputy Leader, said: “This key appointment to the History Centre project team is an important milestone in the project and signals the start of the detailed design of the centre. Throughout this project we will be working with Plymouth residents, local history enthusiasts and art and history experts.

“The History Centre is the biggest investment in Plymouth’s history and culture for decades and will be something that everyone in the city can enjoy and benefit from. It will have a significant economic impact by creating jobs and attracting visitors to the city.”

Atkins’ project architect Kevin Presland said: “This is an exciting development for everyone involved as we look to create a new landmark for Plymouth. 

“Our team are now looking forward to working with the museum to take this project forward.”

Atkins was the lead designer behind the award-winning £50m Grade II listed Liverpool Library and Archive, as well as The Keep History Centre in Surrey and the National Newspaper Archive in Boston Spa.

Ward Williams Associates’ heritage portfolio includes The Heartlands Project in Cornwall, a £22.5m community led scheme to transform one of Cornwall’s most derelict urban areas into a truly inspirational cultural landscape.

Local projects delivered by both Atkins and Ward Williams include Plymouth’s Royal William Yard, Devonport Park’s regeneration/restoration, the Eden Project, the Devon Record Office and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.