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Spitfire inside the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery
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The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Progress: Completed

Project value: £6m

Sector: Heritage

Completed: June 2021

SME spend: 100%

Local labour within 40 miles: 63%

Apprenticeship weeks: 101

Local spend: 40%

Volunteer hours: 30

This world-class attraction is a stunning example of the regeneration happening across Stoke-on-Trent. It celebrates our past, but is also a huge part of our future as we power up Stoke-on-Trent and build back better from the pandemic.

Councillor Daniel Jellyman

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Infrastructure and Heritage and Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council

Centred around the gloriously restored MK XVI Spitfire, the new Potteries Museum and Art Gallery extension will serve as a constant inspiration to future pioneers in STEM.

Delivered in collaboration by TeamSCAPE delivery partners Morgan Sindall Construction and Perfect Circle, this new exhibition space at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery tells the story of STEM pioneer RJ Mitchell. Demonstrating the benefits of making a difference way beyond the build, the landmark project celebrates influential historical figures from the city of Stoke as well as inspiring future pioneers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

In total, the project generated £950,000 in social value. 40% of project spend was within 40 miles and 100% through SMEs, additionally the project team donated 30 hours to charitable and community projects. A total of 101 apprentice weeks were achieved in addition to connecting students to the project to inspire the next generation of built environment professionals.


In 1972, the RAF gifted an MK.XVI Spitfire to the City of Stoke-on-Trent to commemorate the original designer of the Spitfire, Reginald Mitchell, who was born in Stoke. In celebration of its importance, Stoke-on-Trent City Council commissioned the delivery of a brand-new exhibition space to house the Spitfire.

Designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects, the team worked collaboratively with Perfect Circle through the SCAPE Consultancy framework to design a 3,800 square foot extension. Bespoke structural glazing enables the Spitfire to be viewed from outside of the museum.

Via the SCAPE Construction framework, the existing building underwent significant refurbishment works alongside the extension. Refurbishment works to the existing 4,200 square foot café included internal improvements to the walls, ceilings, and floor finishes - featuring a new bar and servery counter - helped bring a fresh and engaging experience for visitors.

Whilst being delivered on time and to budget, this project overcame many challenges. Time pressure was compounded by discovery of a gas main and district heating pipework running directly below the proposed building location, requiring diversions to be planned, approved and executed so construction of the extension could proceed.

By working closely with the supply chain and the customer, Morgan Sindall managed to find innovative, efficient, and cost-effective solutions to a variety of challenges highlighted by the ground investigations such as asbestos in the ground, coal seams grouted, as well as the challenges that arose as a result of the pandemic.

Given the timeframe of the project, COVID-19 and Brexit caused a large challenge to the delivery of high-quality granite. Originally meant to be sourced from China, the team had to change to a Portuguese supplier. This guaranteed the materials would come on time without affecting programme. It also provided a smart and cost-effective solution as research showed that shipping costs went up by 300% from China, with delivery delays equally large.

Economic approaches were taken to the project design as the team used flashing and cloaking techniques upon the external terraces of the building. This smart technique was used where there was a fall in the paving between the cladding and pavement. The use of innovative 3D printing solutions saved costs by negating the need to order a whole new panel from Italy.

Through carefully re-designing key features of the project, including elements such as the external lighting, reducing the size of the plant room and omitting the use of intumescent paint to roof steelwork, the team were able save the customer over £200k.

The project was delivered on time, in budget and scored 9/10 for customer satisfaction. The restoration of the Spitfire took place concurrently elsewhere in the UK, creating a race against time to ensure the facility and Spitfire restoration would cross the finish line together.

To cap off this landmark project, the project team also provided co-ordination and assistance getting the re-conditioned spitfire into the building – a very careful and sensitive operation. In addition, through its delivery, the project invested £950,000 of social value through strategy around local spend, SME engagement, student education, community projects and charitable support.

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Our heritage-led regeneration is creating a quality environment where visitors, residents and people working here can come and spend time in amazing spaces. It’s changing the landscape of Stoke-on-Trent and the city centre for the better, providing a massive lift for the area and putting our city right on the international map where it belongs

Councillor Daniel Jellyman

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Infrastructure and Heritage and Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council

We’re so excited for the opening of the new gallery and we can’t wait for visitors to come and see how special it is. The space has such a wow factor when you walk in and the incredible Spitfire RW388 and its story are truly inspiring. The restoration experts, designers, construction team, partners including Operation Spitfire and museum staff have all done such an amazing job making this incredible vision a reality. It’s going to be a first class visitor attraction that can bring so many people to the area, inspire a new generation of engineers and spark immense pride in our local history.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore

Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Public Health, Stoke-on-Trent City Council


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SME Spend


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