The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, Canterbury

CampbellReith worked with Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council on the restoration and extension of this 19th century museum and art gallery.

The £9m project received a £6.5m Heritage Lottery Grant. The Grade II listed building was built with funds bequeathed by Dr James Beaney and opened in 1899 to re-house a museum and library. The library has more than two million books plus 17th and 18th century texts, maps, local newspapers and street directories.

The museum houses old master drawings, European oil paintings dating from the 16th century, work by local artists, English and continental ceramics and gold and silver jewellery from the graves of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Kent.

Prior to the main contract commencing two former residential properties were demolished and the external areas of the site comprehensively excavated to record the past occupation of the site. Findings included items dating from Norman times to the 17th century and included a Roman road and building which had been destroyed by fire.

The refurbishment of the existing building restored the quality and integrity of both the exterior and interior of the building. A new lift and staircase were introduced to enhance disabled and staff access and the services installation was comprehensively upgraded to give much better environmental control for the exhibits and visitors. New openings were introduced through many existing walls to enable the free flow of visitors and create larger, more inviting spaces, and the rear of the building was entirely re-supported at first floor level to integrate the existing and new ground mezzanine floors.

Services: Structural, Civil

Sectors: Arts & Events