Building contractors William Skinner refurbish Highland museum and heritage centre

From: Fame Publicity Services
Published: Thu May 24 2007

AYRSHIRE-based building contractors William Skinner & Son have won a contract to redesign and refurbish Timespan, the museum, art gallery and heritage centre in Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland.

After three years of planning and fundraising, and more recently, weeks of labelling, archiving and storing museum items for safe keeping, Timespan’s redevelopment is now well underway.

"It is a great day for us," said Timespan’s chairman Penny Woodley as she tossed a final scoop of debris into one of the skips that have been steadily filled by staff and volunteers over the last frantic days.

"Everyone has worked incredibly hard, it’s difficult to believe that we can now actually hand over to the professionals."

Brian Galloway, of main contractors William Skinner & Son praised the staff and volunteers of Timespan.

"They have done a fantastic job of clearing and preparing the building for us so that we can plan a fast turnaround to reopen this fascinating centre in the quickest possible timescale."

The initial work will focus on the new reception and shop displays as the gallery, shop, café and riverside geology garden will reopen by the end of the month.

The new museum, which won’t be open to the public until July, is where some of the most innovative and stunning changes will be seen first.

A dynamic new design is being introduced that will allow updating and changing exhibitions on a regular basis, which will keep the museum fresh and exciting.

"There was much to love about the original Timespan," explained the centre’s Director Rachel Skene, "but its layout did not allow for new exhibitions or loans from national collections. We will soon have a museum of regional importance, designed to the highest and latest standards."

The museum will include a core collections room featuring key themes from East Sutherland’s heritage, a new version of the well-loved crofting street and a new storytelling room, which will show audiovisual presentations and live storytelling events.

Upstairs, a new community archive and exhibition room will improve provision for the popular community heritage projects and the developing genealogy research.

For the first time Timespan will have dedicated facilities for learning and volunteer work. A multi-use workshop has been designed for the wide range of activities - children’s ‘messy’ art workshops, volunteers conservation work, talks and presentations, the knitting group and others.

It will have its own access lobby with an IT suite.

There is a small studio flat for artists in residence and visiting curatorial experts.

William Skinner managing director Sandy Cunningham said: "This is a very exciting opportunity for us to work on this project with Nord Architects for the Timespan Heritage Centre. The work is being carried out by our Construction Services Division, although there is an interface with our Renewable Energy Division to install a Bio-Mass boiler. The original work schedule has been restructured so that the cafe and part of the shop can remain open during refurbishment.

"We at William Skinner hope that the refurbished Timespan Museum and Heritage Centre will prove to be a boon to the people of Helmsdale, and that it will bring increased business and tourism both to the town and to the surrounding area."

William Skinner & Son

Ayrshire and Cambridgeshire-based building contractors William Skinner & Son have recently diversified into tree houses with a contract from leading hotel and conference centre group De Vere Venues.

They have also made a successful entrance into the solar heating market, attracting a large number of new clients throughout the UK, and have demonstrated their commitment to the wider field of renewable energy by installing a 6kW Proven wind turbine at their HQ in St. Quivox and including PV panels in the design for their proposed office extension.

The aim now is to offer general advice on the suitability of any of the available renewable energy techniques, or any mix of them, to solve individual energy supply problems, and they are developing a consortium of available local expertise to help them develop that.

William Skinner & Son are members of The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, an association of some of the top companies in Ayrshire.

The purpose of the Circle is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of industry, commerce and business services available within the county boundaries of Ayrshire in southwest Scotland.

Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse and the Western House Hotel, and member company activities include building and construction, estate agency and land management, legal services, insurance broking, brand management, website design and public relations consultancy.

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle runs its own online news magazine, which can be found at

As well as regularly updated illustrated articles about member companies, Ayrshire Business News also features rolling news, business and sports headlines, and its own online department store.

For further information telephone 01292 671188 or visit the company website at

Timespan website:


William Skinner & Son
Cunningham House
St Quivox
AYR, Ayrshire
Scotland KA6 5HQ

Telephone: 01292 671188
Fax: 01292 671133

Issued on behalf of William Skinner & Son by Fame Publicity Services.

10 Miller Road
AYR, Ayrshire

Telephone: 01292 281498
Mobile: 07833 667322
Company: Fame Publicity Services
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Contact Phone: +44 (0)1292 281498

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