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Saturday, July 13, 2024


A £16 million project by Harris Your Place aims to restore and reimagine the Harris as a community, cultural, and learning space for 21st-century audiences.

When the new Harris opens in 2024, inventive blended displays will give access to remarkable collections. New spaces have been designed to activate curiosity and reflection and offer library services in enriched settings, positioning the Harris as a blended cultural venue, true to its original purpose.

BECK has been newly appointed and confirmed as the fit-out contractor for the Harris Your Place capital project. The fit-out works will be consistently fresh and responsive, blending architecture, collections and activities together in light-touch ways.

BECK will lead the design and manufacturing of the new Harris displays, library shelving, exhibition displays and interior design of the spaces. Their appointment is a major step forward in delivering the project and on the journey to re-opening in 2024. BECK’s first task is to work with their subcontractors to cost up the designs and agree the timescales for delivery of the fit-out, which will help to settle on an opening date.

Dal Chana, Board Director at BECK, said: “BECK is thrilled to be appointed as the fit-out contractor to restore and refurbish, the Harris library, art gallery and museum. We look forward to working with Preston City Council and the project team on protecting this beloved building at the heart of the community, while creating a modern, cultural learning space for today’s audience.  Our diverse works have taken us around the world on iconic projects and we are delighted to add the Harris to our portfolio.”

Click Netherfield have been appointed as the showcase contractor. They will be responsible for the design and manufacture of the exhibition display cases throughout the new Harris. These range in size and scale from built-in display cases to the library shelves to free standing floor to ceiling cases.

Iain Anderson, Senior Project Manager at Click Netherfield, said: “Click Netherfield are museum showcase experts with over 50 years’ experience in design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation of showcases having worked for royal families, world leaders, national institutions, artists and private collectors around the world. We are delighted to have been appointed by Preston City Council as the showcase contractor to the Harris Your Place project and look forward to working with the wider project team to deliver showcases that will protect, preserve and present your wonderful collection for many years to come.”   

Conlon Construction Ltd, now in major contract with the Council to deliver the construction side of the scheme are making real progress on site, with the erection of the external scaffolding, removal of mezzanine floors and partition walls and preparing for the installation of the new lift. 

Conlon Construction Ltd has been confirmed and contracted as the main contractor for the scheme. Decant of the building and collections was completed by June 2022 and the building was handed over to Conlon Construction in August 2022. 

Michael Conlon, chairman at Conlon Construction, said: “Conlon Construction has called the city home for the last 60 years and the Harris fed the imaginations of our team on visits when we were children. It even served as the venue for my own wedding last year. Our many connections to the Harris make this quite a unique and special project for all of us at Conlon. We’re proud to undertake the refurbishments readying it for the next phase of its incredible history. It’s an exciting, 21st century facility which will support the needs of the city and the county for generations to come.”

The new Harris will tell the story of Preston and its people: their relationships, hobbies, pastimes, leisure activities and talents. Including hotspot labels voiced by both the Harris and a broad range of community groups and individuals. Displays will showcase, explore and question Preston’s place in the world, taking visitors on journeys far beyond its walls.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure Services at Preston City Council said: “We’re pleased to enter new major works with Conlon Construction and welcome BECK to the capital project team. Leveraging our collective strengths, this partnership will help us deliver on our ambitious vision for Harris Your Place, creating a community hub of learning, creativity and enjoyment.”

(from left to right) Michael Conlon (Conlon Construction Ltd.) receiving Harris key from Councillor Peter Kelly (Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure Services, Preston City Council)

The Harris is currently operating from other local spaces around Preston, with plans for pop-up exhibitions and events in 2023. More information can be found online about the Harris Your Place project.



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