FWP works to deliver historic city museum’s ambitious revamp

Work has now started on the second phase of the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the historic Tullie museum in Carlisle.

Leading architecture, design and masterplanning practice FWP has been appointed to project manage the work on the 130-year-old museum in the heart of the city.

The revamp has beenmade possible with funding by the UK Government, including support from the UK Government’s Town’s Fund and Future High Streets Fund. Further supported with £2 million public funding from HM Government administered by Arts. Work is set to be completed in summer this year.

Tullie has been a centre for learning since 1893 when it was opened as the city’s ‘Public Library, Museum and School of Art’.

This the second major heritage project that FWP has been involved with in Carlisle in recent years.

It acted as project manager and quantity surveyor on the award-winning transformation of the medieval Fratry at Carlisle Cathedral – another complex project on a sensitive site.

The development, which included essential conservation work, has brought the building back to life.

Once this second stage of ‘Project Tullie’ is completed, the popular museum will have a revitalised and more accessible entrance and atrium space.

There will also be a new ground-floor gallery dedicated to the ‘Border City’. The aim is to give Tullie a “fresh, more accessible, look”. Construction work began at the end of last month (January).

Sam Shuttleworth, Associate Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager at FWP, said: “We are delighted to be playing our part in the revitalisation of Tullie and we’re looking forward to seeing this important development take shape over the next few months.

“The new and improved ground floor spaces that are being created will enhance the visitor experience and make the museum more user-friendly and accessible.

“The museum team has a clear vision to create an innovative, welcoming and sustainable cultural hub that represents local communities. It is great to be able to play our part in helping turn that vision into reality.”

FWP’s specialist team is also working on the delivery of Rochdale Town Hall’s restoration, with the building set to reopen to the public in March this year.

It has acted as quantity surveyor and cost manager throughout the project, to ensure that it remains within budget.

With its offices in Preston, Manchester and London, FWP has extensive experience in project and cost management across a wide range of sectors.

Over more than six decades, the firm has played an important role in delivering iconic developments across the UK, growing its staff in numbers to more than 60 in the process.

As well as Rochdale, FWP has also helped successfully deliver a number of National Trust and National Lottery Heritage Funded-supported conservation, restoration and regeneration programmes over the last five years.

Its portfolio also includes the restoration of Rivington Terraced Gardens on the edge of the West Pennine Moors and work on the Walton Hall Estate, near Warrington, which has included returning its spectacular glasshouses to their former glory.

FWP also led on the challenging restoration of the Victorian market canopies in the heart of its home city of Preston. The much-loved listed structures underwent extensive refurbishment as part of the regeneration work taking place in the historic Harris Quarter.

Photo credit: De Matos Ryan


On the border between England and Scotland in Carlisle’s historic quarter, the award-winning museum and gallery is one of the region’s top cultural attractions. Tullie cares for a collection of almost 1 million objects and hosts temporary exhibitions of regional, national and international importance in its large purpose-built art gallery.

A centre for learning since 1893, Tullie first opened as the city’s ‘Public Library, Museum and School of Art’, and has been an independent charitable trust since 2011. The museum is currently closed to the public while building work is carried out for Phase 2 of Project Tullie – the museum’s phased redevelopment plan which seeks to transform Tullie over the next 10-15 years. Completed in 2021, the first phase was The Costume Collection, two dedicated galleries which tell the stories of Cumbrian women across 300 years. The second phase will bring a revitalised entrance and atrium space, new retail offer, and a brand-new ground floor gallery. Future phases will aim to reveal more of the wonderful collections Tullie cares for, and through them attract more visitors and engage more deeply with local communities.

Tullie is the lead member of the Cumbria Museum Consortium, a Band 3 National Portfolio Organisation for Arts Council England who, along with Cumberland Council is one of the organisation’s core funders. This funding not only allows the museum to care for its vast collections, but also supports an ambitious programme of activity delivered with and for a wide range of people in the community.