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News releases 2017

A symbolic spade has been dug into the ground where the new £34 million Plymouth History Centre will sit to mark the beginning of the site’s transformation into a vibrant cultural quarter for the city. The spectacular facility, designed by Atkins, will transform the city’s current museum and art gallery, central library and adjacent St Luke’s church into a cutting-edge, interactive cultural and heritage centre. 

Councillor Sam Davey, Deputy Lord Mayor for Plymouth, was the first to start the digging in the construction of the new History Centre. 

Once opened in spring 2020 – as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the Mayflower setting sail from Plymouth to America – the  history centre will provide a new home for the city's fascinating and vast historic collections.

James Harrison, Atkins’ design director for the project, said: “It’s great to see the support for the new History Centre from the local community. It will provide Plymouth with state of the art facilities and engage a 21st century audience, whilst celebrating the area’s heritage.”

Cllr Bowyer, Plymouth City Council Leader, said: "This is another exciting moment for the History Centre which follows hot on the heels of a number of key milestones that were achieved by the project team in 2016.”

"After so much hard work to get the Museum, Library and St Luke's Church buildings emptied last year it's a huge feather in everyone's cap that we're breaking ground on schedule and moving into a new and very important phase for the project - a project that will transform this part of the city and give Plymouth the cultural quarter it deserves."

The ceremony was attended by many of the City’s dignitaries, as well as project stakeholders, such as Plymouth County Council, Plymouth College of Arts, The City Deputy Lord Mayor, Plymouth Barbican Trust, Naval Base officials, Plymouth culture board, Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery, Arts Council England and Devon Family History Society, among others and the wider community.

On completion, the centre will have a total of 3,500 square metres of gallery and exhibition space, including seven large-scale permanent galleries, five spaces for local and national touring exhibitions and specific artistic projects, as well as a reading room, a huge public archive area, a shop, a café and learning spaces.




For more information:

D'yon Dowell
Marketing and Communications Manager
+44 1454 66 2026

Notes to editors:

Atkins ( is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies,employing over18,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins’ recent projects on ourwebsite.

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Councillor Sam Davey, Deputy Lord Mayor for Plymouth put the first spade in the ground as part of the official ceremony.

The History Centre team celebrating as they broke ground in Tavistock Place.


Construction work on the History Center is due to complete in summer 2019.