by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

Everyone on site is looking forward to a short break over Christmas – but before we have a few days off here’s a quick roundup of some building and construction tidbits!

Firstly, here’s the November web cam footage in case you missed our social media posts about it recently.

Since my last Build Update post a series of sub-contractors have been hard at work pouring the ground bearing slab for the foundation of our extension (Gworks), laying a damp proof membrane (FastGlobe) and a steel rebar for the reinforced concrete frame of our basement (Stephensons). A rebar is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires that acts as a tension device to strengthen and hold the concrete in compression.

Having seen demolition work and plenty of digging take place over the last few months it feels as if the tide has now turned and we are starting to see things rising up from the ground once more.

The Box construction site December 2017

Progress with pouring the concrete base next to St Luke’s Church is also progressing.

Pouring the concrete base at St Luke's Church, Plymouth, December 2017

A number of our staff have been on hard hat tours during the last month and everyone seems to have really enjoyed them. It also means we’ve got new snaps of some of the spaces that are being developed. The images I’m using in this post were kindly taken by our art curator Terah Walkup. To quote her on this image of our former Attrill Gallery: “The walls of the art gallery are getting a spruce up. Wood panels under all that hessian backing. A behind-the-scenes peek.”

Museum Gallery December 2017

She also took this image of which she says: “Look close. Every hole and mark is a record of every painting that has ever hung on this wall. Original walls of the Museum stripped back for redevelopment.”

Gallery walls at Plymouth Museum, December 2017

Continuing on the subject of walls, our contractors Willmott Dixon have uncovered some writing on some of the boards in the galleries and it’s quite interesting/entertaining!

Writing on gallery wall at PCMAG, December 2017

This inscription dates from 28 August 1910 – the year the Museum and Art Gallery building opened.

Our colleague Graham Naylor from Plymouth Libraries has done a bit of research and we know the E Back who wrote on this board was Ernest Jonas Back. He was born in Plymouth in 1895 and would have been 15 or 16 when he did his papering as an apprentice for Harris and Sons, a decorators, picture dealers and framers based at No. 70 George Street.

From the 1911 Census we know that Ernest lived with his father Thomas, mother Anna, brothers William, Alfred and Samuel, sister Miriam, two more relatives and a lodger at 18 Chedworth Street, near the city centre and not that far from the Museum.

He is referred to on a separate board as ‘a regular swine’. Another board features the wording ‘A Jane – another swine’. We’ll never know the reason for this – hopefully it was just someone’s idea of a joke and they weren’t that unpopular!

This is our last Build Update for 2017. Hopefully you’ll agree that a great deal has been achieved since our Groundbreaking ceremony in January. We’ll be doing our best to keep you up to speed with progress next year when there’ll be more exciting developments, as well as key milestones like the laying of our foundation stone and our topping out ceremony.

I’ll leave you with a little Christmas present – a cool 360 film of the construction site shot a few weeks ago.