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Work gets under way to redevelop West Berkshire Museum

The work to restore the historic Grade I-listed Cloth Hall, and the corn store, a Grade II-listed building, will be carried out by Newbury-firm Feltham Construction at a cost of £2.26m.
A new link building and visitor facilities will be created at the Wharf Street museum and all display and activity spaces will be updated.
Funding has been supplied by a number of local community groups and organisations – including £815,500 from West Berkshire Council, £100,000 from Greenham Common Trust, and £40,000 from the Headley Trust – on top of the cash windfall of £1.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was announced in July.
The museum has been closed since October 2010, but is now expected to reopen its doors to the public in early 2014.
In preparation of the works, volunteers have checked and packed almost 20,000 artefacts and those items deemed to be of “particular significance” to West Berkshire’s history will be presented in a new display.
The district council said this week that museum staff were meeting with local teachers to develop learning opportunities at the museum.
The executive portfolio holder for culture and leisure, Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley), said: “The redevelopment of the museum will be a real asset for the district and we are grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund which is integral to making this happen.
“Preserving local heritage for future generations is extremely important, and will benefit everyone in the community and the many visitors who come to the district.”
Organisations and individuals wanting to make contributions to the project can do so through the Find Me a Grant West Berkshire website at www.findmeagrant.org.

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