Planning for the future

The building work continues to gather pace for our new Arts & Heritage Centre. The continuing ‘soft strip’ entails the removal of all modern services throughout the building, taking the old library and art gallery back to the original Victorian fabric.

These works have seen major changes to one of the second floor galleries as well as the removal of carpets and ceiling tiles. Everything marked with a red X is destined for removal…

As part of this work the old lift car is no more – it has been cut out to allow for access for other works. The lift shaft structure has been boarded out and converted into a waste shute. This makes the soft strip as efficient as possible and limits the amount of waste transits in and around historic items, thus limiting the possibilities for damage to the historic fabric of the building.

Another body of work is the careful removal, documentation and storage of historic glazed timber panels that adorned the lift shaft to all levels. A local specialist contractor is carrying out these works and already the ground floor panel and the storage section of the level two panels and ceiling have been carefully deconstructed, ready to be safely stored off site.

And there is much more than just building work being done! We are already working on the exhibitions and displays that will be at the heart of the new development. As part of the development of the new art gallery displays we are working with a group from the Proud Trust. This group of junior curators are helping us to develop the themes we will use, and to select some works of art which they like or which they feel are important. They have been spending several hours at Gallery Oldham on a Tuesday evening, working in the galleries with our collections and creating their own works of art in our education suite.

The Heritage & Arts Centre project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Stoller Charitable Trust. Full details of the plans and our original announcement are here.