Wayne Hemingway to revamp ‘jewel in Preston’s crown’

Designer Wayne Hemmingway at Vintage by the Sea, Morecambe
Designer Wayne Hemmingway at Vintage by the Sea, Morecambe
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Designer Wayne Hemingway has been appointed to help create a new vision for Preston’s Harris.

HemingwayDesign has been chosen as internal designers, to work with the Harris project team to come up with the principles and creative ideas for the revamp.

Harris Museum and Art Gallery

Harris Museum and Art Gallery

And the Lancashire-based designer has urged people from across the county to have their say in the future of the iconic building.

Conservation architects Purcell have also been brought in to create and manage a team of experts, and offer plans and visuals for the new design.

Council bosses say ideas will look at using space, media and technology, and linking the building with the outside space.

Wayne Hemingway said: “As a proud Lancastrian, I am thrilled that HemingwayDesign has the opportunity to work on such a stunning and iconic building.

“The Harris is a great Northern treasure and we look forward to taking part in its re-imagining.”

He said it was too early to give away ideas for the building before the team knew whether they would be possible, but said: “It’s not that we are being secretive, it’s just we are doing things the right way.”

Morecambe-born Mr Hemingway added: “It’s an amazing opportunity, it’s an amazing building and that area in particular of Preston has always been very exciting to me.”

He said the organisation wanted to hear people’s ideas, and said: “It would be great if somebody had visited somewhere in the world and thought, ‘I’ve seen this old civic building in such a place and they’ve done something amazing.’

“It will ultimately thrive by public use, it’s got to be loved by the public. It should be a hub of the community.

“It should be a place where if people think of Preston, they immediately think, ‘I think I’ll go to the Harris.’

“Certain civic buildings are the heart of the community - there’s no reason the Harris can’t be that.”

Senior architect at Purcell Laura Sherliker, who is also a Guild Burgess, said the project would act as a “catalyst for change”.

She said: “We’re excited to be working with the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library to develop a new vision for their Grade I listed building.

“Our intention is to develop a programme that will enhance its services and create a new community hub that will ensure the building continues to inspire and engage its future visitors.”

Preston Council’s cabinet member for culture and leisure services, Coun Peter Kelly, described the Harris as the “jewel in Preston’s crown”, and said: “We’re keen to develop the Harris further while always protecting and maintaining its features and heritage.”

County Coun Marcus Johnstone added: “Our priority now is to put together a first-class bid for major external funding and that’s what we and the whole team at the Harris are focused on.”

People can share their ideas by contacting the Harris.