The Harris Museum may never look the same again as bold new plans for the listed building have been unveiled.Advertisement
Ambitious plans costing £15million are being submitted and the way into the building is being changed.
You’ll be able to walk from the Flag Market through a new set of doors punched in the wall between the Museum and the city’s open square.
Preston City Council says it will also reinstate the Lancaster Road entrance of the Harris.
The Harris, which opened in 1893 and welcomes 330,000 visitors every year, is asking for major funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Read more: Wayne Hemingway among the team re-designing the Harris
A joint statement from cabinet member for culture and leisure Peter Kelly and county councillor Marcus Johnstone who is responsible for cultural services at Lancashire County Council.
They say: “The scale of ambition is clear. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the Harris; it will become a beacon for local people in the 21st century, drawing visitors to a thriving Preston. Creativity will be at the core of the Re-Imagined Harris, everyone will have the opportunity to make, participate and contribute. The Harris, and all that is done there, will be led by the people of Preston, Lancashire and the wider region as a whole. We can only really do this by thinking big and opening up the Harris in a way that transforms the building and makes it truly accessible to all.
“Of course, as one of Preston’s most important, historic and listed buildings we have to be sensitive to the architecture and history. But time and time again, people have been telling us they want to see the Harris open up and talk about the huge success of the Harris Flights a few years ago. Now with this major bid for lottery funding we have the chance to be bold and ambitious in a way we’ve never been able to before. It’s time to seize the moment and unlock the true potential of the Harris for this and future generations to come.
“With such a big change proposed for the Harris, it’s only natural we seek peoples’ views. So please have your say on these exciting plans for the Harris. Over the next few weeks, months and even couple of years we will be improving the plans to take on board people’s ideas, suggestions and the needs of visitors and the community – so that we can truly deliver a new vision for the Harris. One that is highly ambitious but keeps the founding values of Edmund Harris’ legacy to Preston and Lancashire at its core.”
The work on the Harris is part of the city council’s ‘Re-Imagining the Harris’ project which includes merging the services with the county council, including the library.
A funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund is due by the end of November and the city council finds out if it is successful in Spring 2017. A further, larger bid, will then be tabled in 2019.
Here’s how Blog Preston readers feel about the plans, and you can vote in the poll below
Read more: Harris Museum to be open on Sundays
Part of the funding will come from the lottery, with the remainder made up by the city council and other partner organisations.
You can tell them what you think of their designs by visiting the city council website or by using the comments below, which we know they read regularly!