Official opening of £1m tram project

Open To All: Leader of the County Council Andrew Lewar officially opens the new Stephenson Workshop Discovery Centre at Crich Tramway Museum with Crich Primary School pupils Fred Parker and Matthew Calvert.
Open To All: Leader of the County Council Andrew Lewar officially opens the new Stephenson Workshop Discovery Centre at Crich Tramway Museum with Crich Primary School pupils Fred Parker and Matthew Calvert.
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A £1MILLION workshop and learning centre has been officially launched in a Derbyshire village.

Tram enthusiasts are celebrating in Crich after the project to restore an historic building at the National Tramway Village was finally completed.

The disused stone workshop, built by railway pioneer George Stephenson, has been turned into a major new attraction at the museum, housing an exhibition and a learning resource.

A grand opening ceremony took place on Tuesday with a host of entertainment on offer.

Families enjoyed demonstrations by the Arkwright Spinsters, music by a roving jazz band, Punch and Judy, story telling, living statues, circus skills, balloon modelling, a magician and tours of the new centre.

Andrew Lewer, leader of Derbyshire County Council, performed the official ribbon cutting ceremony, along with Crich Primary School pupils Fred Parker and Matthew Calvert.

Museum Curator and head of the project Glynn Wilton, said, “The new George Stephenson Workshop Discovery and Learning Centre has not only preserved a unique, historically important building but has also created a visitor hub and exhibition space and provided a valuable new learning facility.”

Mr Wilton added that the work had brought education into the heart of the museum.

Built in 1841, the two-storey building, stands in the heart of the Tramway Museum site and was originally used as a smithy and wagon works for Stephenson’s one-metre gauge mineral railway to transport limestone from what was then Crich Cliff Quarry to kilns at Ambergate.

The newly restored building links to the existing workshop viewing gallery via a glass walkway.

The exhibition tells the story of the earliest tramways and links the site at Crich to George Stephenson and his mineral railway.

The ground floor has brought learning right into the heart of the village and provided a much improved and larger facility for the delivery of a wide range of learning activities to schools, families and community groups.

Work has involved removing and replacing the workshop’s roof and providing the enclosed walkway and display.

The project has been made possible thanks to a grant of almost £900,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Building work started last summer.

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