(By Andrew Hurley from Wallasey, England, United Kingdom – Norwich Castle, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31710365)
The ambitious plans to transform Norwich Castle Museum and revamp its medieval keep have secured £9.2m of National Lottery funding.
The proposals include restoring the original Norman floor level in the keep. The 900-year-old castle has been a part of Norwich’s skyline since the 12th century.
The project also features the development of a new medieval gallery. Designed in collaboration with the British Museum, the gallery will display national medieval treasures alongside Norfolk’s own internationally-significant items.
Work could start by summer next year if the project is approved, which would mean the transformed keep could reopen in 2020.
The scheme would cost a total of approximately £13m. Aside from the £9.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, more than £3.5 has been raised through a combination of public and private sources.
The confirmation of National Lottery’s support is seen as a “proud day” for Norfolk.
“Norwich Castle has long been a cultural jewel in our fine city and one which deserves to be better known,” said Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council.
“This wonderful news will ensure that many hundreds of thousands more visitors will be able to explore and understand one of Europe’s most important 12th Century secular buildings in greater depth than ever before.”
New customer facilities including a cafe and shop are also on the list of redevelopment.
According to the Norwich Castle Museum, the recreated Great Hall of King Henry I’s lavish castle consists of a banqueting table, minstrel’s gallery, King’s chamber and chapel.
Newly-exposed Norman archaeology and architecture will reveal untold stories of the castle’s past. Visitors will be able to enjoy the breathtaking view of medieval and present-day Norwich at the new viewing platform at the battlement level.
“This is wonderful news, the Norwich Castle project is exciting and ambitious and will deliver real benefit for the region,” Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum commented.
“We are delighted to be working on the project and will lend around 60 important objects for The British Museum Gallery of the Medieval Period which will form part of the new displays in the castle keep.”
“The British Museum is committed to working with partners across the country to share the collection and our partnership with Norfolk Museums Service is a greatly valued relationship. I much look forward to seeing the project progress.”
The Heritage Lottery Fund is Britain’s leading dedicated funder of heritage. It aims at helping people in the UK discover, enjoy and protect heritage of the country using money raised by National Lottery players. Last month, the Fund has granted £2 million to the Bradford Council to breathe new life into the historic Top of Town area.