Paddington bear lends a hand as work begins on new Doncaster cultural hub

Paddington and friends break the ground as work starts on new library and museum in Doncaster
Paddington and friends break the ground as work starts on new library and museum in Doncaster

One of the most iconic bears, Paddington Bear, has lent a paw as work has started on Doncaster’s new Central Library and Museum, his future new home.

Stood on library books with his trademark case, Paddington was joined by Mayor Ros Jones, Richard Stowell from Willmott Dixon and Gonzalo Carmona from Bond Bryan Architects to begin the unique £15m project in the heart of Doncaster’s Civic and Cultural Quarter earlier this week.

The new town centre library and museum will see the central frontage of the former Girl’s School in Waterdale restored and encased in glass to form an engaging experience and a high quality exhibition piece in its own right.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “It’s great to mark work starting on our new £15million library and museum in Doncaster’s town centre.

“Retaining the key architectural elements of the former girl’s school, it will be an iconic cultural hub which plays a vital part in the wider regeneration of the area and the delivery of our ambitious Urban Centre Masterplan.

“The scale and pace of new development in the town centre and right across our borough is staggering. Doncaster is really on the up.”

The building, set over four floors, will become the new home of Doncaster Central Library, Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster Archives and the Library Services for Schools.

It will open in summer 2020.

Councillor Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, said: “It is fitting that we are starting work during Libraries Week when residents can discover the ground breaking services our libraries have to offer. There’s such a variety of things for adults and children to do at their local library.

“We are creating a new central library and museum that raises aspirations and inspires people to learn and appreciate Doncaster’s wonderful heritage. Even our Paddington Bear exhibit has packed his case and is getting ready to move.

“It will be a cutting edge building and accessible to all. With state of the art facilities and modern technologies it will transform our library services and cultural exhibitions. It’s going to deliver 21st century experiences that are fascinating and enjoyable for local people and visitors of all ages.”

The Doncaster Council led project was designed by Bond Bryan Architects and is being built by Willmott Dixon Construction.

More information about what is planned inside the new library and museum can be found at www.doncaster.gov.uk/newlibraryandmuseum