Cafe and selling gallery among new elements in £6.7m Northampton Museum expansion

An artist's impression of the revamped reception area
An artist's impression of the revamped reception area

Northampton Borough Council has just appointed the main contractor for its museum expansion project, with construction set to start this month.

Following a tendering process, Wildgoose Construction Limited emerged as the winning bidder for the £6.7 million project.

The cafe, which will have outdoor seating

The cafe, which will have outdoor seating

The project will see a dramatic transformation of Northampton’s Museum and Art Gallery in Guildhall Road, with a major expansion more than doubling the available public space.

Main elements of the project are:

A new 380 square metre temporary exhibitions gallery, capable of hosting major touring exhibitions and in-house collections, many focusing on Northampton’s past

New Shoe Gallery showcasing the internationally-important shoe collection

The link area between the Old Gaol and Guildhall Road blocks

The link area between the Old Gaol and Guildhall Road blocks

New entrance reception and shop

New café with outdoor terrace seating

Selling gallery, with a focus on Northampton and Northamptonshire artists and makers

Dedicated schools and activity space

The Shoe Gallery entrance

The Shoe Gallery entrance

Central Hall major events space

Refurbished art gallery

New visitor facilities (toilets etc)

Loading bay and logistics area

The museum will expand into the Old Gaol block

The museum will expand into the Old Gaol block

The first major element of work will be demolition of the bridge connecting the Guildhall Road building and Old Gaol Block, both formerly parts of County Hall.

Despite the complexity and issues presented by three historic buildings and joining these together with a new-build element, Wildgoose says it can deliver the whole project within budget by spring 2020.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for engagement, said: “This is a key milestone in a vital project for our Cultural Quarter, and our town centre.

“The new museum will not only be a place to learn about and celebrate Northampton’s rich history, it will also be a fitting showcase for our internationally important shoe collections.

“There will also be a much more social element, offering people a wonderful space in which to meet and socialise, and it will offer plenty to interest families.

“I know that this project is some way behind the original schedule, but we want to create a stunning new facility so we absolutely have to get it right.”

This first phase of the museum project is being funded entirely through proceeds generated from the sale of the Sekhemka statue.

It will involve the transformation of the former museum buildings and integration of the Old Gaol block and part of the Guildhall Road block.

Wildgoose chairman Jonathan Wildgoose said: “We are delighted to be involved with this historic build in Northampton to refurbish and extend the museum and art gallery and we are sure that, once completed, this will be a building that the town will be proud of.”

Visit http://www.wildgooseconstruction.co.uk/ to find out more about the winning bidder and its previous projects.