The relocation of Hereford’s Library to a new Library and Resource Centre at Maylord Orchard’s in Hereford has moved a step forward after Herefordshire Council’s cabinet agreed to spend £3 million of Stronger Towns funding on the project.

The project is part of a wider ambition to have an improved library at the new location , as well as a much enhance Museum at the current premises on Broad Street. The total project is expected to cost in excess of £20 million. 

Your Herefordshire announced the news back in the summer about the plans, ahead of the decision that has been taken in recent days.

Article shared in August 2022:

Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet agreed an investment of £8.5 million for a new museum and library for the people of Herefordshire at its meeting on Wednesday 29 June.

Cabinet members agreed to invest £8 million of capital funding for the complete refurbishment of Hereford Museum and Art Gallery (HMAG) in Broad Street, and £500,000 to relocate Hereford Library to a renovated Maylord Orchards centre. The funding, which is subject to council decision, will combine with a £8 million bid to Stronger Towns, and a £5 million bid to an alternative fund bringing the total cost of the museum refurbishment to £18 million and the library relocation and renovation to £3.5 million.

A redeveloped HMAG will support the creation of a world-class, energy-efficient, cultural and visitor experience at the heart of Hereford. As well as other treasures, it would be an ideal place in which to showcase the Herefordshire Hoard, which the council is campaigning to bring home for the people of Herefordshire. The new Library and Learning Resource Centre (LLRC) at Maylord Orchards will also provide rentable space for a range of services and organisations, including the council’s adult learning services and health and wellbeing clinics.

Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, says:

“I’m delighted cabinet members reached agreement on these two significant proposals for Herefordshire. Our investment in cultural services is so important to support local people and adds exciting destinations and support for both residents and tourists. There’s plenty of evidence showing cultural and creative centres attract visitors who go on to spend time in hotels, restaurants and other local venues and we expect the new museum to attract around £2.5 million to the local economy every year. These projects represent good value for money for the people of Herefordshire and put culture at the very heart of our city’s future.”

Successful campaign brings treasure back to the county

The Herefordshire Hoard is coming home. Over 1,100 years since being buried in a field near Leominster, the precious Viking treasure will be looked after by Herefordshire museum service. Opening days are being agreed to give the public plenty of opportunities to see the hoard in its temporary home in Hereford’s Museum Resource and Learning Centre before it’s re-housed in Herefordshire’s prestigious new museum.

The news follows the success of the campaign to raise the funds needed to purchase the hoard, valued at £776,250. That four-month endeavour ended on Saturday 6 August.

A host of events and activities around the county were organised to help raise awareness and generate public donations. 

Herefordshire’s museum service is delighted so many residents engaged with those activities, with many donating cash towards the campaign.

Behind-the-scenes, applications were being made to national funding bodies. The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) provided the lion’s share of the money needed. The large grant NHMF awarded was backed up by other significant grants from the Art FundGarfield Weston Foundation and the Headley Trust.

Simon Thurley, chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund says:

“We are delighted to support the acquisition of the Hereford Hoard, which will not only be an exciting addition to Herefordshire museums but also to the story of the county and its history. The public support the campaign has received demonstrates just how important heritage treasures are to so many and it’s fitting that the hoard will ‘come home’ to the place where it was buried 1,100 years ago.”

Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund, says:

“We are so excited to have played a part in bringing the Herefordshire Hoard home. The story of this extraordinary treasure, which lay undisturbed for over 1000 years only to fall into the wrong hands, cannot fail to fascinate. Hereford Museum and Art Gallery is the best possible place to share these evocative objects with as many people as possible, now and for future generations. It is thanks to our members that Art Fund can support such important acquisitions.”

Karen Everett, chief executive of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, of which the Headley Trust is one of the largest trusts, says:

“Our trustees are delighted to be able to help save the Herefordshire Hoard for the county and the nation. The Headley Trust has been helping regional museums acquire treasure and valuable archaeological finds of considerable local, and sometimes national significance, for nearly 20 years. During that time the trust has awarded grants to over 90 different regional museums, art galleries and heritage centres for over 350 items, and the trustees are very pleased to be able to help on this occasion.”

Councillor Gemma Davies, cabinet member for commissioning, procurement and assets, says:

“I feel genuinely emotional about this. First, I want to say a massive thanks to the organisations that looked so favourably on our applications and awarded us funding to secure the hoard for the people of Herefordshire. Without the unbelievably generous support of the NHMF, the Art Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Headley Trust, it’s highly unlikely we would be here celebrating the conclusion of our fundraising campaign.

“It’s also impossible to know how to adequately thank members of the public for their generosity. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, it’s amazing that our residents had the presence of mind to grasp how important it is to house the hoard in its home county. Playing a starring role in a redeveloped museummeans the treasure will turbocharge our tourist economy by attracting vastly more visitors to Herefordshire. As well as people coming in from outside the county, the exquisite artefacts that make up the hoard will also support education programmes run in Herefordshire schools and colleges, helping our young people better understand the county’s ancient history. Huge thanks must also go to HMSSG, our partners who, as a charity, were able to successfully secure grant funding for the campaign.

“For me, this sensational success marks a new beginning for Herefordshire’s cultural offering. Thanks to absolutely everybody involved for making this happen.”

Judy Stevenson, Hereford Museum team leader, adds:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this. Everyone at the museum service is over the moon knowing the hoard is coming home, where it can be cherished by the people who deserve it most – the people of Herefordshire. Thanks to everyone involved.”