18-Feb-2013 Source: The Helicopter Museum
The Helicopter Museum (THM) at Weston-super-Mare has appointed Bristol architects Alec French to act as its Stage One lead designer in support of a new Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid.
The Practice has previously successfully participated in HLF funded projects at the Underfall Yard and the SS Great Britain in Bristol and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, as well as being included in design work for Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and the Concorde Trust. THM recently entered an expression of interest with the HLF to develop a proposed expansion of the museum facilities and has already appointed consultants, Heritage and Community, to also support the bid.
Chairman of THM Trustees Captain Elfan ap Rees said “These appointments follow more than 12 months of preparatory work by the Trustees and staff as well as preliminary discussions with the HLF, to improve the sustainability of the museum. We are very aware that the existing entrance is unsatisfactory and fails to convey to the public the size and breadth of our unique collection. Replacing the clutter of temporary buildings that have been in place for the last 20 years is a key part of the plan.
However the project will also cover the wider aviation heritage in the area, covering RAF Locking, Weston Airport and aircraft manufacturing and we plan to work with new volunteers, community groups and local schools to bring this about.”
The plans include a new two-storey entrance building on the existing site, providing additional display space, conference and enhanced retail and refreshment facilities, with the Westland Lynx helicopter World Speed Record holder placed in a prominent position behind a glass front. The project could also see the adjacent original 1936 Control Tower building being restored, with heritage displays, and a new hangar built alongside to conserve those aircraft in the collection built in Weston-s-Mare or with a special local connection. Additional car parking and other visitor improvements are also proposed.
A registered charity since being formed by a group of enthusiasts in 1980, THM holds the world’s largest dedicated collection of helicopters and autogyros dating from the early 1930s to the present day, and is manned and run primarily by volunteers. The Museum currently has opportunities for new volunteer staff to support its retail and other income generating activities, as well as limited vacancies in its engineering and archive/library facilities