Revealed – winning design of £18m Great Central museum

The winning design for the Great Central Railway’s £18million museum, destined to house exhibits from the National Collection, has been revealed.

This is the winning design for the Great Central Railway’s new museum at Leicester North station, submitted by architect WilkinsonEyre. GCR/WILKINSONEYRE

This is the winning design for the Great Central Railway’s new museum at Leicester North station, submitted by architect WilkinsonEyre. GCR/WILKINSONEYRE

Announced on October 26, the design submitted by architects WilkinsonEyre was the one chosen to display a number of the National Railway Museum’s exhibits, including LNER ‘V2’ No. 4771 Green Arrow and ex-GCR ‘Director’ 4-4-0 Butler Henderson.

The design for the £18million Heritage Lottery Fund-supported museum was one of six shortlisted for consideration; the designs were unveiled on October 5 for public consultation.

The WilkinsonEyre design will see three two-storey exhibition halls constructed alongside Leicester North station. The choice of this design also allows the Great Central to retain the existing railway station building and platform, which volunteers had campaigned for, while allowing for future expansion. It will also mean the project budget can be concentrated on the exhibitions and their educational benefits, rather than re-modelling the station area.

Andy Munro the Chief Executive of the GCR said, “This will be a museum for the whole of the city and the county and it was vital we consulted as widely as possible before choosing the winning design. The museum team were set a hard task by such a high standard of shortlisted schemes, but we’re confident we have chosen the right one.”

Paul Kirkman, Director of the NRM commented: “We have a number of irreplaceable locomotives which will go on display within the museum. Famous names like Green Arrow and Butler Henderson deserve to be shown off in a building that is just as iconic, but crucially has to be able to protect the exhibits too. The WilkinsonEyre design provides the optimum conditions to display these important items from the National Collection within a building of stunning visual presence.”

Chris Wilkinson of WilkinsonEyre said “We are delighted to have won this project in such a strong competition and we are looking forward to progressing the design which will be a great asset for Leicester.”

The museum project is a collaboration between the Great Central Railway, Leicester City Council and the NRM. In 2015, the GCR secured a first round pass from the HLF as part of a £10m grant allocation to build a museum, which will house locomotives, carriages and other significant items from the National Collection.

The many exhibits will tell the story of how the GCR and other railways contributed to the social and economic history of Leicester and the county. The estimated cost of the museum is £18m with the HLF contributing £10m.

An artist's impression of how the new museum will look once it is completed. GCR/WILKINSONEYRE

An artist's impression of how the new museum will look once it is completed. GCR/WILKINSONEYRE