April 2019 – New ceiling and start to tidy up
The installation of the new fire retardant ceiling in the old Fire Station started and the coffee bar area and new counter was completed. Teams of BAHC volunteers began the job of clearing and cleaning as well as adding the finishing touches to the refurbished spaces.
New ceiling and steps into the future Heritage area
New signage went up inside and outside the building. The new steps into the old Fire Station, the new Heritage space, began to be installed.
March 2019 – Asbestos removal
The old Fire Station was sealed off, air pressure reduced and once everything was tested the asbestos removal team entered the room and took down the ceiling panels. The old lath and plaster ceiling was in reasonably good order. This was good news; it would have been quite a different job if that came down as well.
Asbestos removal photo taken through the viewing window.
New coffee bar area.
The new coffee bar area starts to take shape, the new units look perfect. There is lots of space for everything.
February 2019 – Internal works continue
Good progress is being made on the internal work, doorways have been widened, toilet walls have been moved, new sanitary ware has been fitted, the opening into the new heritage area has been created and redecoration work has started. It is all taking shape and looking good.
Opening into our new heritage area
New heritage area takes shape
The first phase of the asbestos removal has started; this includes removing the internal wall enclosing the disused toilet in the Old Fire Station so as to facilitate the removal of the ceiling. The main asbestos removal phase is planned to start at the beginning of March and will take about a week.
January 2019 – Internal refurbishment starts
Work starts on the internal alterations and enhancements. This is a significant phase of the project; it includes making an opening from the Gallery into the Old Fire Station with steps leading down into the new heritage area. A new coffee shop area and counter will be installed, the toilets will be remodelled to create a new disabled toilet, doors will be widened and the foyer will be redecorated. This part of the project will take approximately nine weeks.
Unfortunately during a preliminary survey we discovered asbestos in the ceiling of the Old Fire Station, left untouched it poses no immediate problem but we want to make this space into our new heritage area so the ceiling has to be replaced before work can progress in this room.
Vantastic – contractors converge on BAHC
December 2018 – We have heating
The new boiler and radiator installation work is now complete and everything is fully functional.
Big radiators in the old Fire Station will keep it warm even through the coldest of days.
The outside rendering is finished and the scaffolding removed, there is quite a view from the top of the building.
New windows, painted soffit, refurbished bell housing, repaired rendering …
View from the scaffolding
A group of BAHC volunteers helped to tidy up the Gallery and Coffee Shop area, many thanks to everyone involved. The contractors will start work in January on the internal refurbishment.
November 2018 – New windows and much more
The outside work is almost complete. The new windows are in and look really good. The other first floor windows and the soffits have been redecorated. The bell housing was inspected and refurbished. Much of the leadwork was in a poor state and has now been repaired.
On inspection, patches of the outside rendering were found to be unstable and these have been replaced where necessary. A future project will be needed to inspect and possibly replace the currently inaccessible areas of rendering.
Inside, work has started on installing an additional gas boiler and ten new radiators in the museum and in the Old Fire Station.
The Tesco Bags For Life count was announced, many thanks to everyone who voted for us. We came third but that still helps us improve our signage!
Bell Housing before it was refurbished
One of our new radiators
October 2018 – Scaffolding goes up!
Scaffolding now covers the front of the building, a very visible sign that work has started! Four new windows will be installed; the remaining first floor windows will be repaired and redecorated, as will be the soffits and bell housing. Some high level brickwork will also be repointed. But first a detailed inspection of the outside will be performed to see the exact extent of the problems.
Our new windows are built and are being painted in the workshop
September 2018 – More preparation
The inside refurbishment design and plans are nearly complete; these include the new toilets and coffee shop / kitchen layout. Preparation for the outside refurbishment is underway, detailed measurements have been taken and our new windows are being built in the workshop. The outside work should start at the end of October and be completed by early December
August 2018 – Tesco Bags for Life
In September and October you will be able to vote for our “Put us on the Map!” project in the Tesco Extra store in Baldock and the express stores in Letchworth and Stotfold. The project is to help us improve our signage and entrance hall – Please vote for us!
July 2018 – Article for the Baldock Mail – Building on our Success
Five years ago a volunteer led organisation took over the lease of the Old Town Hall so that it could become Baldock Arts and Heritage Centre (BAHC).
This year we are very excited to begin a programme of enhancements that will improve and extend the use of the building. The work will be split into a number of phases, starting with replacing the main hall windows and making much needed repairs to the outside of the building.
Inside the toilets will be refurbished and a new disabled toilet facility will be created. The coffee bar area will be refitted and heating will be installed in the Museum end of the building.
A key element of the work is refurbishing the Old Fire Station, the part of the building between the Museum and the Gallery. This area will become the new Heritage centre and visitors will be able to move to it from the Gallery via a new doorway and steps or via a disabled access door at the front.
There is much to be done and each phase is at a different stage of planning, but you should be able to see work starting very shortly. Such a significant programme of work will inevitably disrupt some of our events and exhibitions because at times the use of the building will be restricted. Notice boards outside the building will be updated with the latest news.
We have secured most of the required funding for the basic building work from grants, donations and BAHC events. We continue to look for additional funding to help us complete the work.
All this progress at BAHC has been achieved by a dedicated team of volunteers. More help is always welcome and if you would like to participate in anyway please visit our volunteer page.
May 2018 – Help from Luton Airport
Many thanks to London Luton Airport Operations Limited, via the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation we have been awarded a grant of £2000 to go towards a new boiler and radiators at the museum end of the Old Town Hall.
February 2018 – Community Facilities Capital Grant
During the latter part of 2017 we prepared a detailed submission for the community facilities capital grant. Following a presentation to the NHDC grants panel in January 2018 we were very pleased to hear that BAHC was awarded the maximum grant available. That is £50,000 towards our project, a very significant contribution. Many thanks from the BAHC Management Committee to all the Councillors and Council Officers who supported us.
September 2017 – Our New Strategy
In September 2017 the Board agreed a new strategy. Please click here to find a summary of our way forward.
May 2019 – Grand Re-Opening
On May the 11th we had our Grand Reopening, marking the end of this project although some work will continue to bring the Heritage area into full use.
The BAHC committee would like to thank everyone involved in this project; a fantastic job was done by all.
Of course this project isn’t the end of our building programme, several future projects are envisaged for example a new entrance and a full lift.
Gallery, before the tidy up!