Kier has been appointed by Durham County Council to create a new £14m History Centre & Archives.

The works will include the refurbishment of the nineteenth century Grade II Listed Mount Oswald Manor House, to turn it into a local history hub, bringing together archive, heritage and registration services at a single location. It will also include the relocation of Durham Register Office to the site.

The history centre will provide a secure future for more than five miles of county archives, charting almost 900 years of history, which are currently stored at County Hall. It will also provide a home for historic registration records, the historic environment record, local studies collections and the DLI collection.

The facility will start on site in late spring and is due to be completed in the autumn of 2022.

Dan Doherty, regional director at Kier Regional Building North & Scotland, said: “We are pleased to have been appointed to deliver this specialist project and continue our working relationship with Durham County Council. We have a range of experience in delivering first-class refurbishment projects for Grade Listed properties and we look forward to being a part of Durham’s extensive history.”

Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted that a main contractor has been appointed so that work can begin on the exciting new history centre which will provide a unique gateway to explore the whole history of the county and its people. It will allow us to open up new spaces for residents and visitors to use and enjoy as well as providing a secure future for our important heritage collections.”

The project has been designed by Ryder Architecture which has worked with Kier on a number of schemes in the Durham area, including New College Durham’s STEM Building and Durham County Council HQ.

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