How would you like to see The Harris look in the future?Advertisement
That’s the million dollar question as a bid gets underway for a £10.7m plan of development to the library, museum and art gallery.
The Friends of the Harris have launched a new campaign #HarrisYourPlace to ask the people of Preston for ideas and donations to make it happen.
With almost 1,000 visitors a day, the Harris remains the centre of knowledge and culture it was hoped to be when it as built 125 years ago.
But owners say it is in urgent need of a facelift.
A spokesman for the Friends said: “After 125 years of daily use, the Harris is tired. It needs critical repairs and refurbishment to ensure it is a welcoming and inspiring place for everyone, today and for the future.”
Read more: Harris lottery bid looks back on – but major changes needed
Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council have submitted a joint bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) asking for £4.7m.
The bid is backed by £3.6million of funding already in place from both councils, the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal, Arts Council England and local supporters.
If successful, there will be a period of about two years during which detailed plans will be drawn up.
Now, the Harris wants to consult with the public on what they want to see in the refurbished building and is launching the #HarrisYourPlace public fundraising campaign to support the project.
Cllr Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Culture & Leisure at Preston City Council says: “We have a one in 100 year opportunity to make the Harris uniquely special again, for everyone, but we can only do it with the help of local people. Telling us what you want from the Harris and contributing to the campaign, if you can, will make all the difference.”
County Cllr Peter Buckley, Cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “The Harris has been part of Preston life for so many years, providing opportunities for local people to discover a good book, or be inspired by art and creativity.
“Harris Your Place is a welcome opportunity for people to give their views and help how to shape the future of this grand building.
“The county council is proud to be part of this fascinating project, which aims to ensure that the Harris can continue to inspire and educate people for many years to come.”
Find out more or donate to the #HarrisYourPlace campaign,
Donations can be made at the Harris shop, or send a cheque, payable to Friends of the Harris, to Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, Market Square, Preston PR1 2PP.