Reaching our 20th anniversary

July 28 2020
Reaching our 20th anniversary

Yate and District Heritage Centre

IT sometimes seems there has been a glut of anniversaries in certain years. As the original Yate Heritage venture began in 1995 and the new Yate Heritage Centre opened in 2000, we will just have to get used to this! Slight apologies for a trumpet blowing exercise, but Yate Heritage Centre feels it has something special to celebrate this year.

So, it was in September 2000 that the new Yate Heritage Centre opened to great fanfare. Aardman Animations were the main attraction and Steve Webb MP (above), amongst others, opened proceedings.

Councillor Gladys Nelson, suitably acknowledged within Yate Heritage Centre, was cited as providing the original inspiration for a new Heritage Centre. There was a palpable feeling within the town that local heritage was under threat, and needed to be preserved and cherished while it was still possible to do so.

When the derelict former barn of the White Lion came up for sale, it appeared to be a golden opportunity to create something from scratch. Town councillors, including Chris Willmore, were instrumental in leading the project to transform a derelict pub and agricultural building into a modern 21st century heritage building we see today.

This was undoubtedly a bold move. It was a major project to purpose-build a new heritage facility and back it up by employing professional staff to lead on projects and manage volunteers working at the site.

Today we can look back, I hope, with some pride as to what has been achieved here. In 20 years, Yate Heritage Centre has become a key part of the community as a museum, gallery and archive serving both the local community and “heritage” in general.

Children's Workshop, 2013. Picture: Rich McD Photography

Regular readers of this article will know we aim to keep things lively, and are constantly looking to the future and the next project. Life goes on, and we can now also celebrate gaining full 'Museum Accreditation' status, the benchmark for all museums.

We like to think we are the 'go-to' place for local history, and house the area’s historic collections. We can also boast a great reputation for our work with local schools and community groups. Our history and community events are also part of the local calendar.

Thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, friends and Yate Town Council for making all this possible – 20 years ago and today.

David Hardill