Construction starts on world-class Remembrance Centre at National Memorial Arboretum



Stepnell has begun work on a world-class centre for Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. 

Designed by award-winning Glenn Howells Architects, the new Centre will expand and significantly enhance the visitor facilities at the National Memorial Arboretum, the UK’s year-round focal point of remembrance. Part of The Royal British Legion, it is a living and lasting memorial which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice and fosters national pride; the Arboretum has over 300 memorials and around 30,000 maturing trees set in 150 acres of beautiful grounds. 

The new Remembrance Centre project is valued at £15.7m and will take a year to deliver. Working closely with the Arboretum’s management team, Stepnell will ensure the National Memorial Arboretum remains open to visitors throughout.

The redevelopment will deliver a modern new Remembrance and Learning Centre and a new outdoor area, Heroes’ Square, as well as extensive improvements to existing facilities at the Arboretum which currently welcomes 300,000 visitors a year.  With the completion of the transformed facilities, annual visitor numbers are expected to rise to around 500,000.

Built to the front of the existing visitor centre, and linked to it by a timber colonnade, the brand new Remembrance Centre will house a dramatic rotunda space; an interpretation exhibition and temporary exhibition spaces; retail space; a café, entrance lobby and learning centre. 

The building will have a limestone façade, echoing the Portland Stone of the nearby Armed Forces Memorial, and it will also feature a timber portico and slatted timber cloisters. Heroes’ Square. A central courtyard space designed by landscape architects Fira will be created within the cloisters and will provide a striking formal square for set-piece ceremonies.

The scheme will also see the remodelling of the existing visitor centre, including the creation of an upgraded restaurant with a heightened ceiling, and extensions to the north and south side of the current centre building.

Sarah Montgomery, Director of the National Memorial Arboretum, says: “Stepnell impressed us with their sensitive and considered approach to the redevelopment of our visitor facilities. As a fully operating visitor destination for the entire duration of the build, this construction programme presents some rather unique challenges which Stepnell has addressed. As a result, visitors will share our delight at being able to witness the new Remembrance Centre take shape.” 

Joint Managing Director Mark Wakeford says: “We feel honoured to be helping deliver the new Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arboretum. This is a very exciting and poignant project for Stepnell which has a long history of supporting our service men and women that dates back to the company’s founding in 1867. The new Centre is a truly inspiring development which will transform the experience of the Arboretum’s increasing numbers of visitors, providing expanded and enhanced, modern facilities built to the very highest standards and fitting for this immensely important national site of remembrance and commemoration.”

Stepnell was selected through a competitive process which reviewed the experience and approach of our contractors and their supply chains.  We were able to demonstrate a high quality existing client list, a track record of demanding projects delivered on time and budget and an excellent local supply chain. We believe that our local pedigree, coupled with a collaborative approach to contracting, were important factors in the award of this prestigious contract.

Glenn Howells, Director of Glenn Howells Architects says: “We are proud to work in this significant and beautiful natural setting. The addition of the contemporary new Remembrance Centre will allow the Arboretum to extend its offer to visitors, bringing together the old and new fragments of this beautiful site into a unified and enhanced complex to be enjoyed by all generations.”


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