Among the details of the project, Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas finds there is an opportunity for people to put their name down for posterity
THE Grade II listed Old Grammar School at the western end of Gosport High Street will close at the end of August ready for an eight-month, £1.4 million makeover.
Work can start now that planning permission and listed building consent has been granted, and an additional £100,000 secured from the Arts Council England through National Lottery Project Grants.
Included in the changes will be a new, single storey walkway connecting the Gosport Gallery at the rear of the building on Ordnance Road with the main entrance on the High Street, a landscaped courtyard, the reinstatement of Gosport Museum, and a new café.
Hampshire Cultural Trust which manages the Old Grammar School hopes the gallery can be moved during the closure to a temporary home elsewhere in the High Street but the details of where and when are not yet available.
‘Investing in culture creates jobs, revives high streets
and makes people proud of the place they live’
Welcoming the go-ahead for the work, the Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, Paul Sapwell, said: “The rejuvenated building will blend history, heritage, arts, education and culture all under one roof.
“The new museum will see Gosport’s rich naval, military and social heritage take pride of place in the centre of town, while the café will provide a fantastic and unique meeting space in and for the community.”
For Phil Gibby – Area Director, Arts Council England, South West – the scheme is, “a key part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone project and will play a central role in Gosport Place Board’s longer term plans for achieving town centre regeneration through cultural redevelopment.
“We know that investing in culture creates jobs, revives high streets and makes people proud of the place they live.”
As well as the Arts Council England’s award, the £1.4 million cost of refurbishing the building is coming from the Gosport High Street Heritage Action Zone programme led by Historic England, Gosport Borough Council, donations from individuals and groups, including the Friends of Gosport Museum, as well as investment by Hampshire Cultural Trust.
The Old Grammar School will be closed – with some exceptions such as for certain Gosport Heritage Open Days’ events – until next May and it will reopen with a new name: Gosport Museum and Art Gallery.
Name down for posterity
And people can leave their mark on the project.
The ‘Tag a Tile’ scheme offers the opportunity to have a person’s name inscribed on a clay tile in the courtyard for a minimum donation of £30.
When the redevelopment of the building is completed, those who have signed up to the scheme will be invited to a private viewing, ahead of the public re-opening, to see their inscribed tile installed in the courtyard.
Details of ‘Tag a Tile’ can be accessed at: https://www.hampshireculture.org.uk/tag-a-tile, or by phoning 01962 678140.
Image (above): Artist’s impression of refurbished entrance to Gosport Museum and Art Gallery. Reproduced with permission from Hampshire Cultural Trust.