Paddington Bear, one of Doncaster Museum’s popular exhibits, lent a paw as work started this week on Doncaster’s new Central Library and Museum – his future new home.
Stood on library books with his trusty case, Paddington was joined by Mayor Ros Jones, Richard Stowell from Willmott Dixon and Gonzalo Carmona from Bond Bryan Architects to break the ground on this unique project in the heart of Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter.
The new town centre library and museum will see the central frontage of the former Girl’s School in Waterdale beautifully restored and encased in glass to form an engaging experience and a high quality exhibition piece in its own right.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said:
“It’s great to mark work starting on our new £15million library and museum in Doncaster’s town centre. Retaining the key architectural elements of the former girl’s school, it will be an iconic cultural hub which plays a vital part in the wider regeneration of the area and the delivery of our ambitious Urban Centre Masterplan. The scale and pace of new development in the town centre and right across our borough is staggering. Doncaster is really on the up.”
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said:
“It is fitting that we are starting work during Libraries Week when residents can discover the ground breaking services our libraries have to offer. There’s such a variety of things for adults and children to do at their local library.
“We are creating a new central library and museum that raises aspirations and inspires people to learn and appreciate Doncaster’s wonderful heritage. Even our Paddington Bear exhibit has packed his case and is getting ready to move.
“It will be a cutting edge building and accessible to all. With state of the art facilities and modern technologies it will transform our library services and cultural exhibitions. It’s going to deliver 21st century experiences that are fascinating and enjoyable for local people and visitors of all ages.”
Willmott Dixon Operations Manager Richard Stowell, said:
“What better way to mark the start of a new chapter for Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter, than with Paddington’s help.
“We understand how important it is to create cultural landmarks that inspire both children and adults; the educational and social benefits the project will provide to Doncaster will be incredible. We’re thrilled to once again work alongside Doncaster Council in delivering another important facility that will again help shape Doncaster's exciting future and are committed to ensuring the story of this project is one that leaves a community legacy far beyond bricks and mortar.
“Working with local supply chain partners wherever possible is an important way in which we support the community. Having been awarded this year’s Queen's Award for Enterprise for Promoting Opportunity, we are continuing to create local employment, apprenticeship and work experience opportunities.”
Gonzalo Carmona, from Bond Bryan Architects, said:
“Bond Bryan are delighted to be working in conjunction with Doncaster Council and Willmott Dixon Construction to ensure that everyone in Doncaster and the city region has access to a high-quality learning, training and cultural destination which will support the arts and cultural sector. They, like us, are committed to inspiring the next generation of artists, curators, collectors and visitors - using Doncaster’s rich collections to spark curiosity and imagination through community cohesion.”
The striking building set over four floors will become the new home of Doncaster Central Library, Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster Archives and the Library Services for Schools. It will open in summer 2020.
This Doncaster Council led project, was designed by Bond Bryan Architects and is being built by Willmott Dixon.
More information about what is planned inside the new library and museum can be found at: www.doncaster.gov.uk/newlibraryandmuseum