After supporting a successful Round 2 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid in Spring 2016, Focus Consultants are pleased to announce that the renovation of the museum housing The Gilbert White and the Oates Collections in Selborne, Hampshire, has begun construction. Focus were appointed to project manage the £2.5 million redevelopment of the 17th Century Grade II Listed house by the Gilbert White & The Oates Collections Trust (GWOC).
The redevelopment work consists of the restoration of the stable yard and brew house, providing a new entrance, a shop and a café for visitors, as well as the conversion of the upstairs into a lettable flat. Additionally, the work includes the general refurbishment and reconfiguration of the layout to the main house, which will allow new exhibitions to be created, a new library, and which will increase the space to show more artefacts than ever before, many of which will be on display for the first time, including one of the few surviving original copies of “Aurora Australis”, the first book to be written, printed and bound in Antarctica.
Once the home to naturalist Gilbert White, often regarded as the father of ecology, the museum, which offers educational and family orientated events throughout the year, boasts an extensive range of well-maintained gardens, which acted as a research base inspiring White’s most popular work The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, one of the most printed works of literature in the English language.
The house, named The Wakes became a museum in 1954 when Robert Washington Oates secured the home as a memorial to the naturalist. Here he also established The Oates Memorial Museum and Library in honour of his cousin Captain Lawrence Oates, who was part of the fatal ‘Terra Nova’ expedition to the South Pole, and his uncle Frank Oates, famed explorer and one of the first Europeans to reach Victoria Falls.
The added exhibition space will allow the museum to take visitors on a journey through the exploration of the natural world, in particular linking to the three men.
“It is always gratifying to be a part of a project like this, and the vision the Gilbert White & The Oates Collections Trust have for the museum is inspiring,” said Focus project manager Dan Mason. “I am confident the work the team is doing here will pay homage to the house’s fascinating history.”
The renovation is due to be completed and open to the public in Spring 2018.
Nottingham-based Focus Consultants, which also has branches in London, Leicester, Boston and Aubourn in Lincolnshire, has, since 1994, secured for clients more than £953 million of grants for projects and businesses across the UK and delivered more than £1.3 billion worth of projects and programmes – making it one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the country.
It also offers a range of services to the property and construction industry, including building surveying, quantity surveying, project management, and sustainable development support.
For more information, visit www.focus-consultants.co.uk