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February 2024

Tullie, Cumbria’s leading museum and art gallery, kicks off 2024 with new phase of redevelopment work.

Coming at an exciting time for developments in the city, Carlisle can look forward to seeing another landmark project take shape this year. This will be the most significant development for the museum in over 30 years and will rejuvenate parts of Castle Street that have been unoccupied for decades.

Local Cumbrian firm Cubby Construction Ltd has been appointed principal contractor for Phase 2 of Project Tullie, part of the museum’s ambitious redevelopment plan for the next 10-15 years. The appointment brings a sense of continuity, with Cubby having completed work on the first phase of the project, the regionally significant Costume Collection, in 2021.

Phase 2 of Project Tullie will give the museum a revitalised entrance and atrium space, new retail offer, and a brand-new ground floor gallery dedicated to our Great Border City.

Cubby has been on site since December 2023 carrying out preparations and have now started work, with the former atrium space already stripped back ready for refitting.

Managing Director of Cubby Construction, Tommy Cubby added:

“The team at Cubby Construction are immensely proud to undertake another significant project for Tullie. It’s fantastic to be involved in this iconic scheme which significantly enhances not only the museum but also revitalises several historic buildings on Castle Street. As well as providing work for experienced professionals at Cubby and its partners, the project also creates a valuable opportunity for the next generation to develop their skills and contribute to the transformation of a major Cumbrian community asset.”

London-based architects De Matos Ryan (DMR) are lead designers on the project and have been developing the scheme with Tullie and audience members for the past 15 months. DMR bring with them a wealth of experience, having previously worked on notable projects including Wonderlab: The Bramall Gallery in the National Railway Museum in York, York Mansion House, Young V&A (formerly the Museum of Childhood) in Bethnal Green, and York Theatre Royal. Their approach is ambitious and contemporary, while remaining considerate and respectful of a heritage setting.

José Esteves De Matos from DMR commented:

“We are delighted to be working with Tullie and really pleased to have started on site with the next chapter of Project Tullie. In the coming months, Carlisle’s much-loved museum will be transformed and the frontage along Castle Street will be re-energised to become a thriving new hub for the community. The scheme will reveal the museum in a new light and increase the number of collections on display. The visitor experience will be enhanced by connecting the various gallery destinations with a new orientation space and welcome building. The project will enable Tullie to grow its audiences, increase its financial sustainability, and further contribute to the city’s profile.”

The project is supported by an experienced design team comprising FWP (Project Management Services), Appleyard & Trew (Quantity Surveyor), Price & Myers (Structural & Civil Engineer), P3R (Mechanical & Electrical) Acrylicize (Wayfinding) and The Creative Core (for later phases of Exhibition & Interior Design).

Although Tullie has been an independent charitable trust since 2011, it still works closely with the local authority managing the building and collections on behalf of the council. The museum is delighted to have Cumberland Council’s support on this project.

Councillor Anne Quilter, Cumberland Council’s Executive Member for Vibrant and Healthy Places, said:

“Carlisle is set to be transformed by a series of projects that will support the economy and strengthen the city as our regional capital. Tullie is one of our main attractions and their exciting plans will provide a boost to our cultural offer. Providing lasting legacies for all to enjoy.”

Tullie will reopen in summer 2024, in the meantime the museum will share regular updates on the progress of works via its website and social media, as well as highlights from caring for a collection of almost 1 million objects. In place of its regular events, Tullie plans to pop up around the city and further afield during the closure period. A programme of events and activities will be shared on the museum’s website and social media over the coming months.

The project is made possible with funding by the UK Government, including support from the UK Government’s Town’s Fund and Future High Streets Fund. Further supported with £2 million public funding from HM Government administered by Arts Council England.