Blogging a Building (5)

 

So, what’s been happening this week? Well, our builders have removed the giant slab that formed the base of the Horsa Hut they demolished last week.  The excavator swapped its careful claw for a pummelling pecker and broke it into tiny pieces.  Result!  You can see, but not hear (unlike those of us working onsite!), this for yourself from the images below – also by clicking on this video link: https://youtu.be/Y6hKgdm3s90

These works are all part of the groundworks needed to prepare the way for the three new specialist storage rooms (‘strongrooms’ in archives-speak) that are going to be built onto the back of our main building. They also involved an unexpected rescue operation: saving and re-homing a displaced hedgehog, now safe in our Archives Support Officer, Jenny’s garden and enjoying the company of other prickly friends.

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Recently rescued hedgehog happily snoozing

Back inside, the inner entrance door to the old Archives reception has been removed and the builders are ready to knock down some walls to create the new Heritage Hub spaces. They’ll be able to get on with this as soon as they have the necessary propping design (another new term for my construction vocabulary).  I’m discovering there’s a lot more to this building malarkey than meets the eye!

 

JS ID photo 2016

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

Blogging a Building (4)

As hoped, there’s been plenty of visible action this week!

Inside, our builders have begun the process of removing internal walls to create the new Archives research room and linked volunteer workspaces. And the view from the corridor outside my office door has changed, as you can see from the image below.

ormer Archives reception area, leading to former research room

Former Archives reception area, leading to former research room

In its current state, it’s easy to imagine how the building must have worked when it was home to Kingsholm School. More so if we add in the reminiscences of former pupils – apparently the long, wide corridor doubled up as a gym!

If you look closely at the image you’ll also spot the walls that are due to be removed as works progress (the blue ‘OUT’ lettering is the giveaway), so we can begin to see what the building should look like when it reopens as Gloucestershire Heritage Hub.

Outside, the landscape has changed dramatically! The Horsa Huts next to the railway track have gone, freeing up space for a new access route to our collections storage areas.  It’s been a fascinating learning experience, watching the Huts (formerly a conservation lab and archaeology store) disappear: I was expecting to see everything flattened in a dramatic swoop but I was wrong.  Instead, an excavator operator carefully deconstructed the Huts using a muncher (‘get me’ with my new vocabulary!), picking off the different construction materials and sorting them into piles, ready for recycling.  You can see this for yourself if you click on this link: https://youtu.be/PTVW5-ar1iw

 

‘All very exciting.  More next week!

JS ID photo 2016

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

Blogging a Building (3)

Earlier this week I happened to glance through the window of one of our decommissioned office spaces. And I saw the strangest sight: a blue polythene tunnel leading to the door of one of our outbuildings and, just outside it, a weird looking being, not unlike an astronaut.

“What’s going on?” I wondered. “Are we hosting Sci-Fi productions as a new income generation scheme?  Or maybe I’ve missed headline news about a zombie apocalypse in Gloucester?”

Thankfully, the aliens hadn’t landed and there was a simple explanation for the tunnel and the man in coveralls – asbestos removal. This work is taking place in both our main building and the Horsa huts opposite the old overflow parking area.  It is an essential part of our building programme and is being carried out by experts.  Once it’s been completed, it will allow our builders to push on with the removal of internal walls (to create new Heritage Hub spaces) and demolish the Horsa huts (to provide a new onsite access route).  All being well, we should see some of this action next week.  Meantime, “Live long and prosper”!

These photos show the controls needed to remove asbestos from a floor duct. The route is sealed to prevent the escape of fibres.  Workers take a shower in the mobile unit after they have taken off their overalls and masks, which they put into sealed plastic bags.

Blogging a Building (2)

‘Now for the second entry in my trusty virtual diary…

This week we’ve been giving a bit more thought to the ‘fit out’ of the new Heritage Hub.  We’ve been approaching this from a couple of angles: fine tuning the specifications for all the rooms and sussing out some of the freestanding furniture we’re going to need.

Unbelievably, our refurbishment and construction plans involve fifty rooms!  Admittedly, ten are WCs but it’s still a lot of data to consider – 166 documents worth, to be precise.  Heather, our head of service has been studying this to ‘double check’ everything’s going to be exactly right for our needs.  The dossier includes plans, elevations, sections, engineering drawings and room lists, and it covers everything from the locations of hundreds of plug sockets to types of doors (24 different styles, who’d have thought it?).  It seemed like we were fitting out a hotel!

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Heather Forbes poring over plans for the Heritage Hub

As for the stuff that’ll be going into the rooms, we’ve been thinking about the sort of furniture we’re going to need for people to access audio visual records or hold effective one to one conversations in busy parts of the Hub.  We wanted to get this right so we enlisted the help of two of the Archives’ volunteer buddies and asked them to sound out (excuse the pun!) the acoustic furniture at the University of Gloucestershire’s Business Hub and Bishops Cleeve Library.  This was a really useful things to do (good fun too) and we now know exactly what to buy.  Thank you, ladies!

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Heather Forbes, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack in the acoustic meeting pod at the University of Gloucestershire

Heather with volunteer buddies, Maureen Anderson and Liz Jack at the University of Gloucestershire.

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Liz and Maureen testing the acoustic chairs in Bishops Cleeve Library

Liz (left) and Maureen (right) at Bishops Cleeve Library.  These chairs were a firm favourite!

We were also able to pick up some useful ideas on our travels, like the e-signing in arrangements at the UoG Business Hub.

Heather, Maureen and Liz signing in at the UoG Business Hub

We’re hoping to introduce something similar in the Hub and have submitted a funding application to see if we can make this a reality.

‘More next week….

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader

Blogging a Building (1)

JS ID photo 2016

When she was very little, my eldest daughter used to say she was “making a baking” when we cooked together.  Nowadays she’s a fabulous baker who makes artisan cakes for a living.  But her funny little turn of phrase got me thinking – I could keep you posted about our own creation, the new Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, by “blogging a building”!  So here’s the first entry in my virtual diary…

Over the past week or so, we’ve discovered what it’s like to be working next to a building site.  Some of us, like me, are quite literally next to it!  Here’s the view from my office door:

view-from-office-door

To be honest, we’re finding it all quite exciting.  Sure, there’s been a bit of noise and the odd power outage that’s inevitable when deconstructing old buildings but there have been visible changes every day.  Take last Friday, for example: that was the day when the parquet flooring was lifted – it was scooped out of the building by a giant digger!

More recently, the builders turned their hands to one of the sheds at the rear of the site, as part of the preparations for building the new strong rooms.  As you can see, Heather got stuck in with her sledge hammer, under Paul’s supervision (kidding!).

‘Next instalment to follow shortly…

Jill Shonk

Access & Learning Leader