THE project to double the floor space of Trowbridge Museum and put the town’s industrial heritage on the regional tourist map faces a delayed re-opening because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The £2.4 million Onwards and Upwards Project is converting a second floor in the former Samuel Salter & Co Home Mills above The Shires shopping centre.

The project has been slowed by the challenges presented by the pandemic, and a reduction in the size of the team.

It will feature new displays interpreting the social and industrial heritage of the town and a new learning space.

It will enable the museum to offer further insight into the rich textile-related heart of the town, transforming Trowbridge Museum into a regionally significant heritage tourist attraction.

The museum has benefitted from two new roles: a marketing and events officer, and a retail and income generation officer, both funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for two years.

Head of Culture Clare Lyall said: "By doubling its size, Trowbridge Museum will offer improved facilities and learning opportunities for all ages.

"The museum will be able to display a larger collection of objects than ever before.

"All of the objects from the displays and collection store are being stored in their temporary home at the former USAF Air Force base at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire.

"Throughout 2019 the team worked with designers, Smith and Jones, and architects, Architecton, on the finer details of the re-build of the museum.

"Over the past few months, Beard Construction have uncovered beautiful brickwork while building an exciting new learning space.

"When the expansion opens, we will give visitors the opportunity to engage with our textile past in Home Mill, discover new skills and be inspired by our contemporary exhibitions.

"It will include a range of new features and exhibits, including expanded creative zones and workshops, enhanced temporary exhibition space, and weaving and textile-related courses.

"We will have costumed interpreters for mill experience, opportunities for visitors to try handloom weaving, and a new library and research hub."

"We will also have meeting rooms with a spectacular view of Trowbridge."

The project allows visitors to weave their way through the story of West of England cloth and discover innovation, revolution and riches.

The Museum will re-open with longer opening hours, enhanced accessibility for visitors with disabilities and a new picnic space. It will announce the re-opening date in due course.

Clare Lyall added: "We look forward to seeing you at the new and improved Museum."

The expansion has been supported by a £1.17 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a £900,000 25-year loan at fixed interest rates, costing £50,000 per annum, and £150,000 from the Friends of Trowbridge Museum.

An additional £3,500 has been contributed by the surrounding community including Hilperton, North Bradley, Keevil, Bratton and Great Hinton Ladies Club.