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17 November 2021

Big clean up starts at Wisbech Museum

Big clean up starts at Wisbech Museum

A task-force of trained volunteers started work this week cleaning up the interior of Wisbech Museum with the hope it will be open, at least in part, for Christmas.

A massive clean-up of fixtures and fittings, walls and floors is needed to clear the dust from the major renovation programme that has kept the Museum closed to visitors for the past seven months.

More trained volunteers will then tackle the delicate task of checking and cleaning exhibits before they go back on display.

Curator Robert Bell said: “The contractors have finished their main task of replacing the roof and carrying out many other essential repairs to get the main building watertight and back into good shape.

“Interior scaffolding has come down and they're taking it down outside now, too.

“We certainly won't be opening every room and gallery this winter but we hope to have a presence at Wisbech Christmas Fair on December 12, and to start family Saturdays again in the New Year.”

Before they sign off on their main £684,000 renovation task (supported by a £616,000 grant from Historic England), the specialist heritage contractors Brown and Ralph of Longstanton have opened up and restored the Museum's garden wall facing the Church to prepare for other builders to create a new more accessible public entrance at the rear of the Museum.

It's hoped that this job, also supported by grants, will continue back-to-back with the roof and renovation work to save on both time and money.

The Museum featured on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register in 2018. The roof was last attended to and the masonry frontage cleaned in the 1980s.

Museum curator Robert Bell said: “We had to shut off the Townshend Room and the collection displayed there in early 2019 because of water leaking from the roof which caused the ceiling to collapse. Something had to be done.

“The Museum belongs to Wisbech and we're grateful to all our fantastic volunteers and to our supporters in the town and district without whom we wouldn't be able to continue.”

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