There are some changes happening to the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery, Bangor. Following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and support from other funders, we will be moving to the Bishop’s Palace building (also known as the Town Hall), located across the road from our present location in the Old Canonry.
Building work started on site in March 2014 and will be ongoing until March 2015. We then hope to ‘fit out’ the internal spaces of the building and open to the public during Autumn 2015. Our new home will have two art gallery spaces, three museum spaces, a large learning space, storage, staff offices, a café and a shop. We also hope to open six days a week – from Tuesday to Sunday daily with longer daily opening hours. The building will have a lift making the building accessible to all and we hope it will be an open, friendly space in which everyone will find something to learn about or be inspired by, or just enjoy themselves.
The Bishop’s Palace building itself will be interpreted – as it is an important building and one of the oldest in Bangor. Dating to c. 1500s, the building was designed to house successive Bishops of Bangor. Some of the timber trusses dating to 1546 will be conserved and incorporated into the design of the building for visitors to see and learn about the building. Later additions to the building such as the large staircase in 1754 and the cobbles recently discovered outside the main entrance will form an important part of the architectural history of Bangor. The builders subcontracted to carry out the work, R.L.Davies, will be working with the community too – whether appointing local sub contractors and apprentices to offering Open Days and a behind the scenes view of the building work.
Here, we will blog about the changes as they occur, which will be a record of the building’s transition into a new museum and art gallery and will also keep you up to date with progress. You can also see stunning photographs by Alan Whitfield who is working with the Project group to capture the changes as they occur. Click here to see these images.
Rydym yn wirioneddol falch o gael cyhoeddi ein henw newydd – STORIEL.
Comisiynwyd Tim Albin, Droplet i ddylunio ein harwyddlun a datblygu canllaw ein brand fel bod yr enw yn cael lliw a ffurf erbyn dechrau Gorffennaf 2015.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to obtain dendrochronology dates for the timbers found in the reception area. But, we are going to try and obtain Carbon 14 dating which is not as accurate (only to within 30 years) but will still be interesting and valuable in better understanding the history of the building.
Reception area beams – dendrochronology
When the ceiling in the main reception area came down, we found some very nicely preserved beams. Dendrochronological samples have been taken away. Crossing fingers we get some even earlier dates than those from the east wing of 1546.
Beams found – fingers crossed for a date
The continued opening out of the partition walls within the building meant that we had another interesting architectural discovery on site; exposed uprights. These uprights were previously hidden in an office wall – and they are located in the same gallery space as the beams that have been successfully dated to 1546. Ned Scharer from The Natural Building Centre has been renovating the existing wattle and daub panels and has also installed a new panel which will show the various stages of building a wattle and daub panel.
Chance Discoveries relating to two significant Jewish families from north Wales
While taking down the ceiling in the attic area, a chance discovery was made. A box full of Christmas related items; squashed paper chains and paper bunting, painted pegs and original stamped wrapping paper of the well-known Pollecoff firm which had outlets in Bangor, Pwllheli, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holyhead. We have kept the wrapping paper for the Museum collection. Another chance find was made when looking through items that were in the safe that was within the safe. While we were optimistic that we would find some treasure that would help with our fundraising efforts for the project, what we found instead was an engraved copper plate, wrapped, belonging to Mayor & Mrs Wartski. Isidore Wartski was Mayor of Bangor in the 1940s and was the first Jewish Mayor in Wales. This copper plate has also been kept for the Museum Collection.
Papur lapio Pollecoff o’r 60au // Pollecoff wrapping paper from the 60s
Engrafiad cyfeiriad Mr Wartski // Mr Wartski’s Letterhead engraving
We were aware that there some architecturally historic features would be discovered during the building work as we had asked staff at the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments (RCAHMW) and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust (GAT) to carry out some research for us. What we didn’t expect was to discover architectural features outside during week one! Cobbles were found outside the building, with a path clearly visible between the cobbles running from the main entrance of the Bishop’s Palace to the side entrance of Bangor Cathedral. There is an image showing the cobbles which dates to mid-1700s so they may predate 1750. These were recorded by staff at GAT before being hidden under hardcore to allow large vehicles and work on site without damaging the cobbles. The landscaping designs will be adjusted to incorporate the cobbles as a feature into the exterior designs.
Gellir gweld y llwybr o fewn yr hen gerrig // Revealed cobbles which show the path to the cathedral