Naturally, with a build of this size, we’ve had a few minor delays, and the recent snow didn’t help. However, work is now nearing completion and we are aiming to be open to the public in June. You’ve probably seen that some of the hoarding boards are already coming down and the area is starting to be landscaped.
If you are a regular visitor, you’ll notice a new modern extension to the chapel. This will contain a refreshment bar and toilets for visitors. It will be shortly clad in oak, which will complement the chapel.
The pergolas are going up outside the chapel – these denote some of the foundations of the corridor leading to the chapel. I popped in last week to review progress and can tell you that the inside of the chapel looks AMAZING! We are all very proud of what has been achieved in the restoration.
For our visitors with mobility issues, a new lift will ascend to floors of the chapel which haven’t previously been accessible. Likewise, we have installed a new staircase leading to the bottom of the chapel tower - which is very sympathetic to the building’s Victorian structure.
You’ll be able to visit floors of the chapel that were previously closed to the public – take a stroll along the balcony, sit and reflect or just take in the beautiful colours and workmanship of the redecorated chapel. All of this will be free for visitors, with a charge for those who wish to visit the top of the tower.
Around the Park, there are now five areas which have been fenced off. These areas are part of the exhibition – telling the story of the hospital on, or close to, each corner of the former military hospital. We’ll have banners on these soon, letting you know what you can expect (but not giving it all away)! My previous blogs tell you a little more about these.
Inside the chapel, we will be installing our new exhibition, which will allow you to explore more of the impressive history and heritage of the hospital and site - with interactive elements and audio visual displays to show a range of fascinating images and film footage of the hospital.
Other good news….
We’re not even open and yet we’ve been nominated as a finalist for a national award!
Remember the Raise the Roof campaign, in which you helped raise over £7,000 towards the Friends of Park’s target? Well, we have been selected as a finalist in the Fundraising Initiative of the Year category for the Museum and Heritage Awards.
We’re up against some tough competition, but I think we’re in with a good chance. The final is in May, so we’ll update you in a future blog and through our social media. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
So that’s it for now, until next time.