After several years of planning and extensive renovation work, the new cultural hub in Tunbridge Wells, which includes KCC’s library and Adult Education Centre, has been officially opened.
The Amelia Scott centre is named after the social reformer and campaigner for women’s suffrage who lived and worked in the town. The opening ceremony was performed by her great niece, Helen Boyce.
The building now offers a new library, museum, archive space, art gallery and KCC’s adult education service. It also has register office facilities, by appointment, for the registration of births and deaths, and brings under the same roof the Tourist Information Centre, Gateway and a cafe with a courtyard.
Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services said: “I am delighted to see this superb facility finally come to fruition after several years of hard work and planning by all the parties concerned.
“It was a complicated project which meant the temporary relocation of one of the county’s most-visited libraries and the adult education services but now that the Amelia Scott is officially open, I feel the effort has been worthwhile and I am sure the residents of Tunbridge Wells will feel the same.”
The £21 million project was delivered by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in partnership with Kent County Council, the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England to integrate and extend a range of cultural and learning facilities in the town. It is expected to attract nearly 500,000 visits each year and 18,000 learners on the site, and be a showcase for learning, culture and the arts.
More information about library services can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/libs
A spokesperson for Kent Adult Education said the service was excited to deliver a range of courses at the new building, giving local residents the opportunity to enhance their learning experience with brand-new equipment and facilities.
During the building work, Kent Adult Education’s provision was delivered at various locations within Tunbridge Wells, including Royal Victoria Place, The Corn Exchange and The TN2 Community Centre.
“KAE at the Amelia” will offer a wide range of courses including silversmithing, jewellery, sculpture and bookbinding. The Amelia now houses bespoke arts and craft studios along with dedicated suites for classroom-based learning, such as English, maths, English as a Second Language, IT and creative writing courses with a local theme that are unique to Tunbridge Wells.