The Roger Brown model of Victorian Winchester is to be given a permanent home at Winchester City Museum.
Measuring over 15 feet and made up of 20 component parts, the impressive scale model is based on the first Ordinance Survey map of the city from 1873, and took former town planner Roger Brown nine years to create following his retirement from Hampshire County Council. Since its completion in the 1980s, the model has been on temporary display at a number of locations in and around Winchester, but this is the first time it has been given a permanent home.
The project is being championed by many prominent local supporters including travel writer and photographer, John Pilkington, who worked with Roger Brown in the Hampshire County Council planning office. He commented:
“Roger Brown was a warm and extremely generous man. The contribution he made to Hampshire’s towns and countryside was immense, but the model also shows his grasp of history and incredible eye for detail. People are going to be amazed and inspired!”
Although the project has received significant funding from Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council and Winchester Town Forum, Hampshire Cultural Trust (HCT), who operate Winchester City Museum, are launching a major campaign to raise further funds to secure the future of the model, and will be reaching out to local businesses and donors for their support.
After being in storage for a number of years, the model is undergoing extensive restoration by HCT’s highly-skilled conservation team, and will be brought to life by new digital interpretation. Along with the objects on display in the museum, the model will tell the story of Winchester, orientating visitors by taking them through the Victorian streets and introducing them to the city’s rich heritage from King Alfred to Jane Austen.
The ground floor of Winchester City Museum will undergo extensive refurbishment in two phases in order to accommodate the model. The ground floor of the museum will close to the public on Monday 3 October, with full closure from Monday 10 October, to allow conservators from HCT to remove current exhibits for conservation and storage during the refurbishment.
On Saturday 22 October, the museum will re-open to the public for the half-term holiday and Christmas period, with the galleries on the top two floors celebrating Winchester’s Roman and Iron Age past open to visitors as usual. The ground floor will be dedicated to Made in Hampshire, an HCT project which receives Arts Council England (ACE) funding. This pilot phase of the Made in Hampshire project will take the form of a pop-up shop, giving local makers and producers a platform to promote and sell their goods in the city during the festive period. The museum will close fully at the end of 2016 so that refurbishment work can be completed before the model is installed, with full re-opening planned for the end of March 2017.
Janet Owen, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented:
‘The Roger Brown model is a unique record of our city in Victorian times. Roger Brown completed the model in the 1980s after nine years of personal dedication, but, despite being on temporary display at a number of locations, a permanent site has never been found.
‘We are absolutely thrilled that we now have the opportunity to give this extraordinary work - made by a man with real vision and love for the heritage of Winchester - a permanent home in the heart of the community at the Winchester City Museum. The museum is the ideal place for the model to be housed, and combined with our exciting plans for the-design of the ground floor, which will incorporate objects from Jane Austen’s personal items to stories of the trades people of Winchester, we will be creating an exceptional visitor experience for local people and tourists alike.’
Details of how to donate to the Roger Brown model can be found at www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/RogerBrownModel.