Project development

What's been achieved so far?

  • The National Lottery Heritage Fund has committed £15.8 million to the project
  • Arts Council England has committed £4.2 million
  • The Coastal Communities Fund has committed £2 million
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation has committed £250,000
  • The University of Plymouth has committed £150,000
  • The Wolfson Foundation has committed £128,000
  • Arts Council England has committed £4.1 million revenue funding for the years 2018 – 2022
  • Building and construction work has now commenced on The Box site and a ‘Museum On Tour’ programme is under way in a range of venues and locations across Plymouth and beyond.


May 2014
Successful Round 1 bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for £12.8 million

September 2014
Appointment of key staff and consultant teams

January 2014
New Library plans agreed

October 2014
Atkins, one of the world’s leading design, engineering and project management firms, appointed to oversee the architectural and technical design for the building

April 2015
Award-winning exhibition designers, Event Communications, appointed to lead the development of the content

June 2015
Joint Library and History Centre consultations

Consultation in a pop up shop

Autumn 2015 and Spring 2016
More public consultation around Plymouth and beyond

January 2016
Successful Round 1 bid to Arts Council England (ACE) for £4.2 million

February 2016
Decant of the Museum and Art Gallery begins behind-the-scenes

March 2016
Planning application submitted

Councillors gathered around History Centre plansMarch 2016
The Central Library relocated to a new location in the city centre. It can now be found on the corner of Mayflower Street and Armada Way

April 2016
Round 2 bid submission to The National Lottery Heritage Fund

May 2016
Round 2 bid submission to ACE

June 2016
Planning permission granted

July 2016
Wolfson Foundation funding (£128,000) secured and Building Contractors appointed

August 2016
The National Lottery Heritage Fund Round 2 funding secured

Closing the museum doorsSeptember 2016
The City Museum and Art Gallery closed its building and moved its collections to a secure offsite store

October 2016
ACE Round 2 funding secured

January 2017
Official ground breaking ceremony takes place and construction work begins

March 2017
Garfield Weston Foundation funding secured (£250,000)

June 2017
Arts Council England recognises the national role for The Box and awards £4.1m revenue funding spread over the 4 years 2018 – 2022

Major construction contract for £22.6 million is signed with award-winning construction and regeneration firm, Willmott Dixon. Construction work has begun, due to complete in late summer 2019

July 2017
The Box is revealed as the new name for what had been provisionally entitled the Plymouth History Centre

August 2017
Demolition of the post-war extension at the back of the former Central Library is completed and structural support for the new extension begins. Scaffolding and protective shrink wrap is in place around the former Museum and Library

September 2017
Scaffolding and protective shrink wrap is in place around St Luke’s Church

October 2017
At 40 metres high, a tower crane is in place to enable lifting a range of heavy building materials for the new extension

November 2017
A pilot project begins for the restoration of the Royal Navy figureheads. ‘King Billy’ and ‘Topaze’ are the first to undergo some vital analysis work before being restored. Consultation sessions take place, to share our current plans and ideas with members of the public

December 2017
Work continues on pouring the concrete bases for the extensions to the main building and St Luke’s

February 2018
A number of key partnership projects are announced, including national initiatives in dance and contemporary art. The blockwork for the extension to St Luke’s Church is largely complete and the windows are removed for conservation

March 2018
The official foundation stone ceremony takes places. The ‘Mayflower 400 Community Sparks’ grant scheme launches, to support grass-roots community, arts and cultural activity in the city up until November 2020

April 2018
Work begins on the restoration of Elizabethan House which will reopen as part of the Mayflower programme in 2020. The new extension for The Box reaches several floors high, with the cantilever taking shape

May 2018
Work continues behind the scenes to digitise, research, condition check and conserve objects for display in 2020. The Plymouth History Festival 2018 takes place and staff get ready for a busy summer ‘On Tour’ in and around Plymouth, Cornwall and Devon

June 2018
The Box, Plymouth is selected for this year’s Contemporary Art Society’s prestigious Collections Fund Prize

July 2018
A new Head of Contemporary Art, Nigel Hurst, is appointed. The frame of The Box extension is largely complete and the temporary roof over the former Central Library building is removed. The Elizabethan House is awarded initial support for National Lottery funding enable development of plans for Mayflower 400

August 2018
The props for the main extension’s cantilever are removed and the new spaces inside have taken shape

September 2018
Structural completion of the main extension is marked with a ‘Topping Out Ceremony’. Plymouth Art Weekender 2018 takes place. Kate Farmery is appointed as the new Head of Business

October 2018
Plymouth is confirmed as a host city for British Art Show 9 with The Box as a lead for the exhibition in 2021. Three major contemporary works of art are acquired for the permanent collections through the Contemporary Art Society’s prestigious Collections Fund Prize. The Hub are announced as specialist fit-out contractors for the new galleries and temporary exhibition spaces

November 2018
Restoration work to the Figureheads progresses. The Elizabethan House restoration and interpretation is given an award from the Coastal Revival Fund. The restored stained glass windows are installed in St Luke’s Church and flooring is polished. Interior works continue in the new extension, including plastering, tiling and fittings installed for the Figureheads

December 2018
The final phase of works to the Elizabethan House are given the go-ahead with the overall design and installation contract awarded to The Hub