Creating a cultural and learning hub for Doncaster
- Four buildings consolidated in to one central hub
- Frontage of Hall Cross Girls School building restored and encased in glass
- New space will support local and creative economy
- Template for renewing Britain's high streets
Our team delivered an intricate and sensitive restoration of four existing buildings (Doncaster Central Library, Doncaster Archives in Balby, Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, and the Library Services for Schools at Top Road, Barnby Dun) to create what will be a cultural hub that will inspire creativity, informal learning, and innovation.
The focal point of the new building is the front of the former Girl’s School which has been carefully restored and encased in glass to create a truly unique exhibit. When lit up at night, it sends a statement out about what this public building is all about.
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster
“The building is eye catching, interesting and iconic, particularly the frontage of the former High School for Girls which we have beautifully restored and showcased as an exhibit in its own right. It has changed the skyline in Waterdale, but it’s more than just a great looking, cutting edge facility. As a new public attraction, it will contribute to our wider regeneration plans for the Civic and Cultural Quarter and the rest of our town centre. Most importantly, it will be a great public asset for our residents and communities to enjoy."
The new space will help support the local and creative economy, by providing opportunities for young people, creatives, and small business owners to develop skills that help build a successful career. The striking building will have the space and facilities to display exhibits which have been locked away from public view for years, including the famous Danum Shield and the Royal Borough Charters.
The art gallery will display works from the art collection cared for by Heritage Doncaster. There is also a dedicated gallery space to accommodate influential art works loaned from the likes of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Arts Council Collection - a first for Doncaster.
Other features include an exciting new rail heritage centre showcasing memorabilia from The Doncaster Grammar School Railway Collection and the possibility to display two locomotive engines built in Doncaster.
In total, the new building is home to:
- The Museum and Art Gallery
- Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI)
- A high quality education space
- A small and micro-business start-up space
- Training and conference facilities
It will be a popular destination in Doncaster's Civic and Cultural Quarter which can be enjoyed by all residents, businesses and visitors.
Ros Jones added:
“The building is more than just a great looking, cutting edge facility. As a new public attraction, it will contribute to our wider regeneration plans for the Civic and Cultural Quarter and the rest of our town centre. Most importantly, it will be a great public asset for our residents and communities to enjoy and benefit from. Given the budget cuts councils up and down the country have faced in recent years, it is a great achievement to be delivering this public building and bringing together a number of services all under one roof. It’s something everyone in Doncaster should be proud to call their own and it will take them on a journey of discovery.”
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture:
“We are raising the bar with the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum by creating a state-of-the-art public building with a range of modern and quality services for our residents. It will showcase the many achievements of this great borough and has been designed to inspire creativity, encourage learning and drive innovation.
Anthony Dillon, managing director of Willmott Dixon in the North:
“The Danum Gallery, Library and Museum is our eight project alongside with Doncaster Council, a partnership that has seen more than £40m invested with local businesses so far. This really is a building built by, and for, the people of Doncaster, so we’re hugely proud to hand over a cultural hub that will inspire, empower and bring people together.”
Renewing the town centre
The Gallery, Library and Museum is a superb attraction and place for learning.
The library offers a mix of traditional and new ways of reading and learning. It will include dedicated spaces for families, young children and teenagers and various facilities for people to learn and carry out research. It will cater for everyone and this includes having interactive digital content which will benefit people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and young visitors.
The museum will have a fascinating mix of collections, split into various zones. This will enable visitors to learn about Doncaster’s rich heritage and see how communities across the borough have changed over time. It will have a superb natural history space and there will be a special community display where local people can decide what to showcase.
The building will include a superb rail heritage centre too, including never been seen before exhibits from the rail collection at Hall Cross Academy. The remarkable selection of rail related memorabilia has been amassed over the years by the Doncaster Grammar School Railway Trustees. This will be a great attraction and showcase why Doncaster is often referred to as “the home of rail”.