Tops off and topping at the City Museum

The Square in the centre of Winchester returned to its old self this week when the scaffolding enveloping the City Museum, which is prominently situated next to the Cathedral's Outer Close, was removed.

Contractors working for Winchester City Council, which owns and operates the museum, have completed major works to replace the roof coverings.  Owing to the recent hot weather they had to endure temperatures up to 480 C beneath the temporary roof which was erected to protect the building whilst the project was under way. Despite this, and with the aid of giant fans and huge quantities of bottled water, the builders A R Morris Roofing kept to schedule. The Venta Belgarum Gallery, closed since Easter whilst works were in progress, re-opens to visitors on Saturday 5th August 2006.

The roof has been completely overhauled, with all the slates and lead gutters being replaced. This is the first time the roof has been substantially refurbished since the building - which was awarded Grade II listed status in 2002 - opened as a museum in 1903.  Insulation to meet current building regulations - and in line with the City Council's environmental commitment to reduce carbon emissions - means that visitors should notice an improvement in comfort levels. The project was managed by the City Council's own contracts and property services team.

Dr Geoff Denford, Principal Curator at Winchester Museums, commented, "It's very gratifying that we now have the added protection to our valuable exhibits that the works to the roof will bring and have also been able to improve the comfort of our visitors by meeting modern standards of insulation."

Cllr Patricia Stallard, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, added: "We are grateful for the patience of our customers and neighbours whilst we have carried out these essential works, which has enabled us to protect this much-loved building for the enjoyment of future generations. The contractors have done a superb job in sweltering temperatures to ensure the museum could fully re-open to visitors at the earliest possible date".

Admission to the museum is free. Opening hours are 10am - 5pm, Mon-Sat; Sun noon - 5pm