LATEST NEWS: START OF RESTORATION OF BUILDING DELAYED UNTIL FEB. 10TH, COMPLETION OF BUILDING WORKS APRIL25TH.
Building work on the restoration of the Decontamination Annexe of RAF Defford in Croome Park is due to start in week commencing January 13th 2014, and be completed by the end of March. But completion of the interior of the building and opening to the public of the RAF Defford Museum will not be until at least August or September. This is because for various good reasons, the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for the interior of the buildings, its fixtures, fittings and displays, has been delayed. It has now been agreed the application will come from the National Trust, and it is now pending. In the meantime, from the end of March onwards we expect to have a fully restored but empty building, which can be used for temporary displays intended to give visitors a foretaste of things to come.
The project to restore the decontamination Annexe and fit it out to house the new Museum, is being driven by a Project Board appointed by the National Trust, and comprising Michael Smith (the Property Manager at Croome) as Chairman, with Dr Dennis Williams and Dr Bob Shaw from DAHG. The professional Project Manager is Sarah Fowler, an experienced surveyor, who reports to Michael Smith and to Shaun Wilkes, Resident Surveyor in overall charge at Croome.
As announced a couple of months ago, Dennis Williams, the DAHG Archivist, has been appointed by the National Trust as Custodian of the new Museum with wide curatorial responsibilities.
The decision has been taken to entitle the new Museum, the RAF Defford Museum. Although previously referred to as the ‘Defford Airfield Heritage Museum’, as Dennis points out this is something of a tautology. After considering various word permutations, the Project Board agreed on RAF Defford Museum. The previous title was a bit of a mouthful, the new name rolls of the tongue more easily. In any event, we know everyone at Croome will simply refer to it as the ‘RAF Museum’, whatever we say, so we might as well go with the flow.
The building project was put out to tender in early November. Tender responses are now in, and as an outcome the contractors Croft Building and Conservation Ltd have been appointed by the National Trust to carry out the delicate and sensitive work of restoring the Decontamination Annexe to as near as possible its 1942 appearance, while adapting it to accommodate the Museum and meet modern requirements such as thermal insulation – and ensuring that bats, a protected species, are not disadvantaged!
The whole project has been made possible by a generous grant and on-going support and encouragement from the Evesham-based firm Severn Waste Services through the Landfill Communities Scheme, managed by the Pershore-based charity Welcome to our Future.