Museum plan for Tunstall Park's boathouse
A DISUSED boathouse in one of Stoke-on-Trent's biggest parks looks set to be transformed into a museum.
Plans have been drawn up for the building at Tunstall Park to become an educational facility celebrating the heritage of the town.
The project is at an early stage, but the Tunstall Victoria Park Trust has contacted the Heritage Lottery Fund to inquire about the possibility of funding.
It would bring back into use one of the focal points of the Grade II-listed park, which opened more than a century ago.
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Linda Tweats, secretary of the trust, said: "People come to us with lots of suggestions for the park, and the boathouse is probably the most common thing people mention.
"It's a really interesting place. It's identical to the one in Hanley Park and boats used to be moored in there.
"We want to bring it back into use, and what better way than by turning it into some sort of educational facility?
"We want to do something so the schoolchildren can come along and learn something, and it could link in with our natural history trail.
"We're envisaging some sort of interactive-type museum that celebrates the park and the wider area."
Mrs Tweats said trust members would be keen to run the museum themselves, and has already had a visit from a planning officer to discuss possibilities in terms of the building's structural condition.
The cost of carrying out the work has not been revealed, but a simple renovation of the building is estimated to cost more than £30,000.
Mrs Tweats added: "There are disused toilets there at either side so that could provide a possibility as well. It's really about bringing the park back to life and creating that old Victorian and Edwardian feel."
Megan Ryan, the trust's vice-chairman, said: "This is at a very early stage, but it is a great idea and we have contacted the Heritage Lottery Fund with an initial inquiry."
Tunstall Park, also known as Victoria Park after the Queen started to be laid out in 1897 and was completed in 1908.
Like many of Stoke-on-Trent's parks, the landscape was created by transforming land wrecked by coalmines and industrial waste.
Among its more outstanding features are its distinctive wrought-iron entrance gates in Victoria Park Road.
The park, which also features a restored bandstand, was recently upgraded with a new play area and improved tennis courts thanks to a £600,000 investment programme.
For 12 pages of your memories, don't miss The Way We Were on Saturday.