Harris Museum Overhaul Looks Set To Move To Next Phase

Preston City Council has launched the search for multi-disciplinary design services to progress its plans for a £10.7m revamp of the Harris, a landmark in Market Square.

The £200,000 contract would start in December this year and end in 2023. The deadline for bids is 14 October.

The listed building in the centre of Preston is used as a museum and art gallery, with Lancashire County Council leasing 40% of the building to house a library.

Plans have been under way to refurbish the Harris for a number of years. Preston City Council established its ‘Re-imagining the Harris’ project in 2015 with a masterplan drawn up in 2016; this was expected to cost £18.6m. A bid was put forward to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £10m, but was turned down,.

The council then made a second attempt for Heritage Lottery funding in August 2018, this time aiming for £4.5m. Development funding of £180,900 has been awarded, to progress the full National Lottery grant bid by November 2020.

Architect Purcell and interpretive designer Leach Studio worked with the council for the first stage Lottery Fund application.

Preston City Council said: “The project aims to establish the Harris as the UK’s first blended museum, art gallery and library. Having recently celebrated its 125th birthday the Harris aims to be a centre for Preston’s cultural and social life, a source of inspiration, pride and creativity for the next 125 years.”

The total bid of £4.7m will support the £10.7m project, which is backed by £3.6m from Preston and Lancashire councils, the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal, Arts Council England and local supporters.

View the contract notice here.