Published: 13:19, 26 November 2021
| Updated: 13:51, 26 November 2021
Concerns over vibrations from the use of heavy machinery during a £1million renovation have prompted a museum to shut.
The doors to Sandwich Guildhall Museum will temporarily close from Monday, November 29 with all of its precious artefacts moved to a secret, safe location.
Although a timeline for the £1million forecourt project, directly outside the museum in Cattle Market, has yet to be confirmed by Dover District Council, Sandwich Town Council has it on good authority that it will start early next year and be completed by the summer.
A 2,000-year-old Roman bowl and Mesolithic artefacts will be among the items shipped out via a specialist removable company, approved by the National Conservation Service.
The museum's glass shelves and archives will also be taken away, with the council saying they do not want to take "any risks".
The documents from 1300 – discovered in 2015 in an archive scrapbook – continue to be exhibited as part of Hawkwood International's touring show Magna Carta: Tyranny, Justice, Liberty in Washington DC.
A statement from STC said: "After a long period in the process of planning, we are currently awaiting confirmation from Dover District Council of a decisive commencement date for the redevelopment of the Guildhall Forecourt early next year.
"There is considerable essential preparation to be undertaken before the contractors arrive on site to eliminate serious risk to precious artefacts and exhibits in the museum, likely to be caused by vibration during the period of redevelopment.
"We have therefore take professional advice on necessary precautionary measures to preserve our historical artefacts.
"The process of carefully dismantling and packing all treasured objects and displays within the museum will begin directly after closure and thereafter safe off-site storage will be arranged to safeguard the museum's relics.
"We aim to reopen the museum at the earliest possible opportunity which will of course be dependent on the progress of the redevelopment project, but we very much hope to return with some new and exhibits in 2022."
The approved £1million plus transformation includes resurfacing along with the installation of a new bus shelter, seating, water fountain and lighting and is aimed to transform the town for tourists.
Supporters of the project previously said the plan would give the Guildhall "a real wow factor" and others supported the removal of the cobbles, making the area more accessible for elderly people.