Work has begun on a North East museum and its grounds as part of an ‘ambitious’ £20 million project.

The Mayor of Stockton, Jim Beall, marked the beginning of the works on a new extension to Preston Park Museum by unveiling a commemorative plaque.

The Mayor officially broke the ground near Grade II listed building Preston Hall to mark the start of project which will see a “large, flexible exhibition space” added to allow for more collections to be displayed.

Work on the two-storey extension is taking place to the west of the existing building, and is set to connect it to Victorian Street.

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Cllr Beall said: "I am delighted to be on site to mark the start of this ambitious project at Preston Park, the council's jewel in the crown.

"This new development will create an inspiring visitor experience fit for future generations, improving cultural experiences and at the same time celebrating the importance of our heritage.

"It's brilliant that the new extension will enable nationally significant touring exhibitions and loans to come to our Borough for our communities to experience and enjoy."

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He was joined by representatives from Stockton Borough Council (SBC) and Galliford Try, the contractor appointed to build the modern extension.

The development will see a new visitor entrance on the ground floor, interactive galleries, an open collection store, and a new café and toilets.

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The council have said the development’s aim is to create an ideal environment for nationally significant touring exhibitions and loans.

The transformation of Preston Park Museum and Grounds was funded after the council secured £20million for improvements to Yarm and Eaglescliffe from the Levelling Up Fund as part of the Stockton South Constituency.

It is planned to open in 2025.

Here are some more pictures from the ceremony:

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