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The Museum Building

History of the Museum and the building

Court Barn is listed. sited in an outstanding Conservation Area and adjoins the site of a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Converting it to a Museum, exhibition space and archive for the Guild of Handicraft Trust was a major conservation challenge made possible by a Heritage Lottery Grant and donations.

Reg Ellis Associates were commissioned to design and overseee the repairs and alterations, which were carried out by local builders - Pyments Ltd.

The challenge was to retain the character of what was a derelict building and to protect the tranquility of its setting and the spaciousness of the interior.

It was clear that, as it stood, the barn itself would not provide enough accommodation for the Museum's purposes. But there had been an earlier threshing floor in the building, creating a kind of mezzanine over the west wing. This was reinstated, and extended in the form of a new self-supporting gallery, to provide office space and archive storage. The new mezzanine is constructed of English ash attached to the floor with stainless steel footings. Like all new work in Court Barn it is reversible, so that if the barn should pass into other uses it can be removed, leaving the orginal structure intact.

Underfloor heating was installed and the roof was insulated and underlined with lime plaster. Glazed screens were inserted behind the orginal barn doors and the lighting was carefully designed by Lightmaster to provide a controlled environment for the wonderful exhibition space designed by Gareth Hoskins Associates.