The Winchester Discovery Centre

Press Release: 23/11/2007

Winchester Discovery Centre

This week will see the opening of the brand new £7million Winchester Discovery Centre, which promises to be an inspirational centre of learning, leisure and creativity.

The Discovery Centre will open its doors to the public, for the very first time, on Tuesday 27 November at 10am and everyone is welcome. This will be the first opportunity to explore one of the city’s newest and liveliest cultural venues at the heart of Winchester’s expanding ‘cultural quarter’.

Visitors will benefit from over 53,000 books, plus 42,000 in store. This includes over 1,500 CDs, 1,500 DVDs and games, 28 public computers, two galleries, a performance hall ready to host an array of artists and a café bar for a well deserved sit down with your favourite novel!

Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Margaret Snaith said: “The opening day is set to mark a very special time for Winchester. I hope the Discovery Centre will stretch the concept of an educational building to the limits, with literacy, history and the arts all combined in one space.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Winchester for providing many of the ideas behind this new facility and for bearing with us throughout the building work. I would also like to thank our partners at Winchester City Council for their invaluable contributions to this project. I look forward to welcoming everyone through the doors on November 27.”

Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport, Councillor Patricia Stallard, added: “I am sure that everyone who visits the Discovery Centre will be delighted by the design, the welcome and the sheer range of opportunities. I hope that our own programme of local arts and heritage displays in the City Space will help to reinforce the Discovery Centre as a particularly special place for residents of the Winchester District. But it is certain to be a draw for visitors from much further afield in years to come.”

The opening promises to be a day like no other. The Performance Hall has a packed schedule starting with the colourful cast from the Theatre Royal’s pantomime, acting out scenes from ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’. Children from Westgate School will then be performing 12 stylishly executed monologues at 11.45am. Westgate School will be ‘walking the boards’ for a second time at 2.10pm as they put on a vibrant performance of Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’. Young people from some of Theatre Royal Winchester’s resident contemporary dance and hip hop groups will also be performing work they have choreographed themselves at 4.30pm.

Throughout the day the Café Bar will be brought alive with the sounds of soulful acoustics from local artists. The line up includes: Ryan O’Reilly, renowned for his country and blues sounds, classically trained pianist Nina Schofield, the blues tinged rock music of The Ashbies, the understated vocals of Philip BareBones, the amazing vocals of Alex J Dunne and finally the folk and indie rock sounds of Owen Tromans.

If that’s not enough then just have a look at what else you will find inside the doors at the Discovery Centre……

A first class library services with over £300,000 of new stock on top of current stock. ‘Fast back’ service, express check out and returns... special spaces for children and young people, plus comfy seating for reading and relaxing. Internet access, Wi-Fi and online learning with meeting rooms, study areas and refreshments.

Two exhibition spaces which really complement each other. The upstairs gallery will be showcasing the history of the magnificent Discovery Centre building, which has had many lives and transformations. In the ground floor City Space, meanwhile, visitors can take a trip through time to explore the ‘Faces and Places’ of its surroundings in Jewry Street. There will be objects from the City Council’s reserve collections, archive footage and activities for families.

Actual shelf stock includes:

  • Adult non fiction: 18,123
  • Adult fiction: 10,498
  • Audio books: 995
  • Reference: 12,436
  • Childrens: 7,722
  • DVD / Video: 1,473
  • Music Cds: 1,550
  • Play Station: 121

Reference books in basement: 42,000*

*Due to the books currently being transferred an exact number is unavailable at this time.