Good progress is being made in preparing the site for the new Gateway Project buildings; the dismantling of the wagon shed from Pallingham Quay, previously our café servery, is complete and the dismantling of the medieval house from Sole Street is in its final stages.
The Museum’s Interpretation team has started research for the future interpretation of the medieval house and more information about this, and the site of its re-erection at the Museum, will be announced over the coming months.
Museum Carpenter in Residence, Joe Thompson, has been delving into the buildings’ pasts during the dismantling work.
The wagon shed from Pallingham Quay has a story that bridges four centuries:
- In the 18th century, it was constructed as an open shed – potentially used for wagons, carts and/or implements. Evidence also suggested that the structure was also used as a sawing shed – there are saw cuts on the tie beams. Examples of these cuts can be seen in the Wagon shed from Wiston and cart shed from Lurgashall
- The 19th century saw the partial collapse of the shed, after which is was repaired and converted into an animal shelter
- In the 20th century it was dismantled and moved to the Museum site, where is was reconstructed and became a café servery
- Now, in the 21st century, it is being dismantled once again as it enters a new phase in its history. After conservation, the shed will be re-erected at a new location within the Museum’s grounds and will become an exhibit building for the first time.
The medieval house from Sole Street was originally constructed in two phases – one in the 15th century and the second in the 16th century. When the building was donated to the Museum the medieval timbers were in a poor state of preservation and many were missing altogether.
The timbers of the hall are elm and were so ravaged by beetle attack that the main posts broke up and could not be rescued. In spite of this, we were able to follow the evidence and produce a convincing reconstruction of the building as it would have been in the early 16th century.
As such, Joe is now dismantling mainly new timbers and the modern steel nails are trickier to remove that their 200-400-year-old iron counterparts.
The historic and replacement timbers will still require conservation before the building is re-erected – reinforcements are required for the elm timbers distorted by the weight of the roofing tiles.
Work began to clear trees from the Gateway Project site on 19 October. Until building works start in the New Year, visitors are able to get a clear view of the Museum site as they enter the car park.
It is essential that the tree work takes place now, to avoid disrupting the roosting of wildlife. We estimate that the work will be complete in early November and impact on visitors’ enjoyment of the Museum will be minimal due to the careful nature of the process.
We would like to thank our visitors for their understanding during this period of change.
As part of the Gateway Project Activity Plan, we ran a Careers Fair on 16 October, to promote possibilities for work in heritage, crafts, trades and countryside skills, which was a huge success.
New Heritage Lottery Funded appointments
Welcome to George Grime, who joins us as Heritage Marketing Trainee, and to Tarun Ingvorsen, who joins as Site Maintenance Trainee on 2 November.
We are currently recruiting for two Building Conservation Apprentices and will soon recruit a project Engagement Officer. For details, please see our Working for the Museum page.
How you can help
We need your support for the Gateway Project to become a reality. If you are able to help us by giving a donation – however large or small – please visit our JustGiving web page. Alternatively you can download a donation form here.
If you are a UK taxpayer please consider GiftAid for your donation – the GiftAid scheme enables us to reclaim the tax on your donation, greatly boosting its value.
You can also support the Gateway Project – and become a part of it – by buying and signing chestnut shingles for the new roof. Find out more here.