Arundel Museum Moves Into Its New Premises - A Car Park Portakabin

By Veronica Cowan | 17 March 2008
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a photo of a man in a suit standing by the open door of a portakabin

The Duke of Norfolk opens the new home of Arundel Museum. © John Bowyer

Arundel Museum in West Sussex has moved into its new temporary home, a Portakabin in a car park, pending the construction of a new heritage centre.

Opening the door to the blue Portakabin-type structure, on March 14 2008, the Duke of Norfolk observed: “I have been asked to open a number of things, but it’s the first time I have opened a freight container.”

The move was triggered by expiry of the lease on the museum’s former premises on the High Street last December; Arun District Council has now sold the building.

The temporary structure, donated by construction company Osborne, is called the History Store and provides a base from which to fund-raise for the new building. There is room for an office and a some small exhibitions, such as the current one on Porches and Porticos, linked to a walking tour of the town.

an architect's drawing of a single storey structure

The design for the new Arundel Heritage Centre. © GWP Architects

Estimated costs of the new heritage centre are in the region of £1.2 million, although it is hoped that Arun District Council will commit a significant sum.

A trust is in the process of being constituted to facilitate fund-raising and overseeing of the project, as well as looking into other sources of funding, such as an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The plans were drawn by Graham Whitehouse, architect at GWP Architects, Burgess Hill. “We will enjoy responding to the challenge of this important location, and hope we will produce a building worthy of Arundel’s historic past.”

a photograph of a blue portakabin type structure

The History Store has room for an office and a some small exhibitions. © Veronica Cowan

He added that they hope to develop a contemporary building with sensitive use of some traditional materials: “It will be principally flint, oak and glass, and will have references to Arundel’s maritime history and the importance of the river, as reflected in the prow-shaped front of the proposed structure.”

The new building will also overcome one of the problems with the old site, namely lack of disabled access, since it will be single storey, and fully accessible.

Mr. Whitehouse now has to steer the project through the planning process, but it is hoped that construction work will start in the late spring or early summer of 2009, with completion in 2010.

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