Roof Repairs at City Museum

Press Release: 06/03/2006

The Square in the centre of Winchester will take on a different look this spring when the City Museum, which is prominently situated next to the Cathedral's Outer Close, will be cased in scaffolding for 10 weeks. Winchester City Council, which owns and operates the museum, has commissioned contractors to carry out major works to replace the roof coverings, requiring scaffolding of the building and installation of a temporary roof whilst the project is under way.

The works follow a survey last summer which was carried out after a number of leaks threatened exhibits. Taking around 10 weeks, the project was scheduled for this spring to avoid poor winter weather conditions and peak summer visitor season. It will require the closure of the Venta Galley on the upper floor, although the rest of the museum will be open for business as usual throughout the period.

Once completed in July visitors should notice an improvement in comfort levels. Hitherto, the Venta Gallery has been too hot in summer and too cold in winter. This problem will be solved by improving the insulation to meet current building regulations in line with the City Council's environmental commitment to reduce carbon emissions.

The roof is to be 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. Materials will be of the same quality as were used in the original building, including Welsh slate, and are likely to last at least another 70 years. This £155,000 scheme is part of a planned ongoing programme of major repairs funded by the City Council, which has a number of old and listed buildings in its care.

Dr Geoff Denford, Principal Curator of Winchester's museum service, commented, "New roof coverings will give added protection to our valuable exhibits and will also improve the comfort of our visitors by meeting modern standards of insulation. Maybe the Edwardians were a hardy bunch but they omitted to place any in the original roof."

Cllr Therese Evans, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, added: "The City Museum is a focal point for residents and visitors who are keen to discover the history of Winchester. We are sorry for any disruption caused to our customers and neighbours as a result of the project, but it is only sensible to protect this much-loved building for the enjoyment of future generations."

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

Further information: 01962 848 269, email: museums@winchester.gov.uk