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From Royal Artillery to Salisbury Plain Heritage – first look at Wiltshire’s new tourist attraction


Architects’ plan for the Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre

With a tank under a huge free-standing roof, and rigid military-like blocks, this is the first view of what a new museum for the Royal Artillery could look like in Wiltshire.

Museum bosses say that the new museum will expand to tell the story of Salisbury Plain’s military history, natural heritage and archaeology, as well as the 300-year history of the Royal Artillery, and will hope for a boost from being just six minutes away from Stonehenge and its million visitors a year.

It was announced two years ago that the present museum, currently called Firepower, would have to move from its home in Woolwich after failing to hit of getting 200,000 visitors a year. A year ago, it was announced that the museum would move to Larkhill, as part of a major movement of troops to the new super-garrison around Larkhill, Bulford and Tidworth, near Amesbury.

Council chiefs here welcomed the move, and the 50 jobs it could create, and now the museum’s bosses have announced the museum will be called the ‘Salisbury Plain Heritage Centre‘, and that they have appointed contractors Arup to build the museum to this futuristic design from architects Purcell.

“The building is designed to capture dramatic views over the gallery spaces,” said a spokesman. “It will look out over 22km of open countryside, just six minutes from the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge. The new museum will complement the unique environment of the Salisbury Plain. The new attraction will secure the future of the collection and contribute to the economic vitality of Wiltshire.

“The next stage of the project is to develop the design for a planning submission in early 2017. Once complete, SPHC will showcase a nationally important collection which tells the 300 year old story of the Gunners – and of the 2.5 million men and women of the regiment– in an interactive manner. This collection will feature alongside exhibits that detail the ecology, archaeology and history of Salisbury Plain.

“Visitors of all ages and backgrounds will be engaged by live interpretation and re-enactments, firing demonstrations, interactive displays and temporary exhibitions. Learning programmes and resources will cater for school groups, academic organisations, families and lifelong learning,” he added.

Arup’s project manager Daniel Birch added: “This really is a team effort. We are working closely with RAML and Purcell to produce a design for the museum that will allow it to sit sympathetically in this unique site of ecological and archaeological importance. We are excited to be part of such a unique project and to help realise this vision.”

Article source: By TristanCork  Western Daily Press


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