Brims Construction was appointed in February 2021 to carry out the construction of an Anglo-Saxon museum and Whisky Distillery in Wooler, Northumberland one of the biggest ever tourism investment projects in the region.
The home of the new building, Ad Gefrin, is one of the most important archaeological sites in early medieval Britain. There has been a settlement on the valley floor since the Bronze Age. It was therefore vital to the founders, Alan and Eileen Ferguson, and the wider project team, that the building was designed sensitively to its heritage and natural environment while also offering spaces which would position itself as a flagship, world-class visitor experience.
Ad Gefrin is made up of two elements – a museum and visitor centre celebrating the Anglo-Saxon Golden Age, and Northumberland’s first-ever whisky distillery.
Newly built on a former haulage yard, in Wooler, the ground floor has a bistro with an open kitchen and gift shop. On the first floor, visitors can learn about the Anglo-Saxon history of the site including a recreation of the Old Great Hall at Yeavering, the former summer palace of Northumbrian Royalty.
The wood on the building’s exterior comes from a single Kirkharle oak tree, while what was once the stonework around the front door of the Redpath Haulage Yard has found a new home on the ground floor of the distillery – and there are further original features throughout the building.
Ad Gefrin will generate up to 50 full-time jobs, bringing employment to local people and new skilled workers to the area.The project received £3m from the Borderlands Growth Deal which is funded through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and has also received £1m from the North East Rural Growth Network – Strategic Economic Infrastructure Fund (SEIF) through the North East LEP, and £600k through Northumberland County Council. The successful funding bids gained supporters with the promise of a resurgence to Northumberland tourism, an exporter trade boost, and environmental considerations integrating the site into the surrounding landscape. The building will officially open to visitors on 25 March.