The long-awaited reopening of a much-loved Norwich museum has been put off until next year – because staff are tied up helping cut costs elsewhere in the museum service.

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The Bridewell Alley Museum was due to reopen this autumn after a major £1.5m revamp, but it has emerged that the opening date has been shifted back to next summer.

Building work at the museum, in Bridewell Alley, began in April last year. The work, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is almost complete and on budget, but museum bosses have admitted the opening has been delayed, partially because the service is having to make savings after Norfolk County Council announced a £155m savings package over the next three years. Norwich Museums manager Rachel Kirk said, in a report which will go before councillors next week: “The display development process is taking longer than envisaged due to the time it takes to access the collections which are packed up and located off site.

“In addition, many of the non-Bridewell dedicated staff working on the project are now having to support activities related to budget savings.

“As a result the revised opening date for the Bridewell Museum is June 2012.”

One of the projects which has delayed the opening is because the service needs to save £120,000 a year by moving the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum displays into Norwich Castle Museum and moving the costume and textile collections into the Shirehall.

In the meantime, a new accessible entrance has been created for the Bridewell museum, while platform lifts have been added to make it easier to get to each level.

At the same time, displays at the museum, which is a grade II listed building which once served as a prison and a shoe factory, are being refreshed to widen the focus from trades and industries to tell the story of Norwich, its people and their everyday lives.

What do you think of Norwich’s museums? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email


  • The reasons for this delay seem a bit odd to me. How on earth can it be delayed another year "due to the time it takes to access the collections which are packed up and located off site."? That might be a problem of days but surely not 12 months. It all sounds like more "economies" being shoved through on the QT.

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    T Doff

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

  • If there was "Heritage Funding" to complete the Bridewell Museum,then why is it delayed?.Has funding been moved from this project to another cause? The staff needed elsewhere "cutting costs" ridiculous !!

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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