A £7.7m museum and visitor centre showcasing the long history of coinage in the UK, designed by Mather & Co, will be built at the site in Llantrisant in South Wales, where the Mint moved in the 1960s to meet the challenge of creating a new coinage when the UK went decimal. The new centre will include aspects of The Royal Mint Museum‘s collection at its headquarters in Llantrisant and can also draw on coins in its display at the Tower of London, where it was based for more than 500 years, which has examples of silver coins struck in London in 880 AD for Alfred the Great.
The museum and visitor centre project will include the creation of an interactive museum experience that will explore The Royal Mint’s prestigious history and showcase 1,100 years of manufacturing. It moved into a purpose-built factory nearby in 1810, and during the Second World War a backup Mint was set up at Pinewood Studios, in case the main building took a direct hit in the blitz. A last gold sovereign was struck at Tower Hill in 1975, after production moved to Llantrisant, where it currently makes coins for 60 countries. When the museum and visitor centre opens next year, the public will also be invited in for the first time for tours of the real high security works. Funding for the venture includes £2.3m from the Welsh government.
Design consultancy Mather & Co is to provide exhibition design and management services for a new brand experience. The purpose-built facility will also house a retail shop, café, educational rooms and a live ‘strike your own coin’ interactive. “This is a really exciting project for us to be working on and the project presents a unique challenge to create a visitor attraction within such a high security site,” said Chris Mather, Managing Director at Mather & Co. “Coins provide a unique insight into history so it’s our vision is to use them to tell the story of the Royal Mint and the many key historical events that have taken place over the years.”
The new visitor centre has been made possible after The Royal Mint secured a grant of £2.3million from The Welsh Government to carry out the work, contributing to the total £7.7million costs of the project. Shane Bissett, The Royal Mint’s Director of Commemorative Coin and Medals, said: “We were really impressed with Mather & Co.’s ability to realise our vision for the visitor centre. It’s an ambitious project and we’re working to very tight timescales, which is why we chose a company we felt confident would be able to deliver a world-class visitor experience here at The Royal Mint.”
The project is due to be completed in spring 2016.