Museum News

Gateway Project update

By 25 July 2016January 26th, 2021No Comments

Visitors to the Museum will have noticed the hoarding at our entrance, behind which our exciting new Gateway Project buildings are rising from the ground. This wonderful new cluster of buildings will provide a welcoming new visitor centre, café, shop and community space from spring 2017.

Building contractors, Pilbeam Construction Ltd, began work in March 2016 and you can see their progress on our live webcam (broadcasting live on weekdays from 9am-5pm).

Richard Pailthorpe, Gateway Project Director, has provided this latest update on the progress of the project.

“The Gateway Project is developing at a rapid rate. One of the exciting spectacles upon arriving at the Museum is seeing the progress of the project, as the building clusters start to emerge from the ground.”


“The foundation works have progressed well, although the northern complex groundworks (left in photo) have been far more extensive than first envisaged.

The frame work commenced in early July and the oak frame is being supplied by Green Oak Carpentry (who constructed our Downland Gridshell building).

The Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) framing construction has been completed on the southern complex, which will house new galleries. This means that, for the first time, we can get a real feel for the size and scale of the buildings.

Green Oak Carpentry will be on site from the end of July to start constructing of the timber frames for the two main ‘anchor’ buildings. These will house the shop and ticket office, plus our new café.”


“The foundation work for the northern complex is nearly complete, ready for the CLT to be constructed at the beginning of August.

In order to meet the roofing deadlines, Ben Law (eco-builder, coppicer and author) is being assisted by another chestnut shingle maker, Justin Owen (from Hindhead) and the roofing is anticipated to take place in late summer.”

Landscaping and car park reconfiguration

“Originally, the landscaping and car park reconfiguration was expected to take place at the end of the year. This has now been brought forward to September and tree works commenced in mid-June.

The tree works are now almost complete, clearing the way for groundworks for the main vehicular drive alongside Town Lane (the main road) and the pedestrian pathway down below Longport farmhouse.”

Millpond refurbishment

“The silt in the millpond is being excavated in order to prepare the surface for re-lining. It is amazing how much silt has accumulated over the last 45 years since the pond was first constructed. We hope to refill the millpond in September.”

Fundraising – can you help us with the final push?

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the Museum £4million towards our project. To date, we have secured funding and pledges totalling £1.1million from grant-making trusts and our supporters.

We are very grateful for this fantastic show of support but there is still more to do!

If you are able to help us by giving a donation – however large or small – please visit our JustGiving page or download a donation form. Alternatively, if you’d like to be part of the project, simply sponsor a beam (£500), tree (£150), roof tile (£50) or wooden shingles (£20) – find out more here.

Until next time

We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with the next stages of our Gateway Project, so visit our website regularly and sign up for our monthly newsletter for project updates.