MINEHEAD is set to get a permanent museum all about its history, thanks to the development of a ‘Heritage Hub’.
The hub will also be home to a café and the Minehead Information Centre. Members of the YMCA Somerset Coast Group are partnering with the Minehead Development Trust, Minehead Museum Group and the West Somerset Railway.
The former ‘Steamers’ bar, part of the Beach Hotel in The Avenue, is being refurbished to house the hub.
The YMCA bought the hotel earlier this year, with plans to revive it as a hotel while providing training and accommodation for young people.
Minehead Vision manager Stephen Hooper said: “The ‘pop up’ museum on the seafront this summer was a big hit.
It proved the demand for a permanentmuseum and the support came equally from both residents and visitors.
“The YMCA has given use the chance to make this a reality.”
The museum will join the other niche museums of the area providing information all about the past of Minehead.
It’s been over 50 years since a campaign started to get a museum in Minehead and now the dream is one step closer.
Martin Hodgson, YMCA Somerset Coat chief executive, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to see an iconic building used for such a positive community use.
“By providing the museum and information centre with such a high profile location, we can generate a huge amount of interest in both the history of the region and the opportunities available for both tourists and residents alike.
“We at the YMCA see this as a prime example of partnership working to showcase Minehead.”
More than 1,000 visitors attended the Minehead Museum’s exhibition in September which illustrated the Victorian development of Minehead.
Company chairman Joe Passmore said they were ‘delighted’ to be working with the YMCA. The Seafront Visitor Information and Interpretation Centre closed its doors in 2011.
In 2012, the Minehead Development Trust with the aid of financial support from Minehead Town Council and West Somerset Council, took over the service.
Paul Conibeare, West Somerset Railway general manager said the hub would benefit the town as a whole.
He added: “During the course of the season Minehead Station welcomes 150,000 visitors and the first thing our visitors need is local information about the great products and services Minehead has on offer.
“Being part of a heritage hub will really enhance the overall visitor experience and benefit all involved.”
Jenny Lennon-Wood, chair of the Minehead Development Trust, told the County Gazette: “The Trust is highlighting this exciting opportunity to demonstrate the partnership we aim to bring to the Old Hospital.
“Even at this early stage, co-operation is generating new ideas that will enable us all to offer an excellent service to Minehead’s community and visitors."
The Heritage Hub is set to open early next year.