The Ely Museum in Cambridgeshire is recruiting an architect-led multi-disciplinary team for a £2.3 million revamp of its Grade II-listed home
The winner of the £80,000 contract will transform the former 17th-century jail on Market Street into a ‘welcoming and useful space’ for tourists and the local community.
The ‘Unlocking the potential of the Old Gaol’ project will upgrade the museum’s nine permanent galleries; expand its education room; create research areas, offices and archives; revamp the shop and visitor facilities; and deliver a new lift.
The competition brief says the project ‘will create a step-change in the work of Ely Museum, making it a welcoming and useful space for local people and community groups to engage with their heritage. The improved facilities and dynamic events and activities programme will help reposition the museum as a community focal point as the facilities will also be available for non-heritage use.
‘The museum will also attract visitors to the area as part of a wider coordinated city ambition to improve the tourist offer. The project will …reinvigorate and contribute to the overall economic improvement of the Market Street area of Ely.’
Ely is around 23km north of Cambridge, and is today famous for its landmark cathedral, restored by architect George Gilbert Scott during the 19th century.
The Ely Museum is based inside a 13th-century complex which housed the Bishop of Ely’s jail from 1679 to 1836 and was later used as a library and register office. A single-storey extension was added to the building in 1997.
The museum holds around 4,000 items in its collection, and its exhibitions explore local historic from the Jurassic era to the 20th century. The latest project will open up internal display areas to create additional space for new permanent and temporary exhibitions along with an enlarged shop and offices.
A new floor will also be created above the 1997 extension, delivering an expanded education room along with offices, storage areas, toilets and a kitchen. Other planned works include improvements to a former inmates’ courtyard and a new reception area. The project is scheduled to complete in 2020.
The museum received £159,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in January to take the project forward. The winning team will develop the scheme up to RIBA Stage 3 and then on to delivery subject to additional HLF funding being approved.
The deadline for applications is 1pm, 7 July.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
The Old Gaol
Tel: +44 1353666655