King’s Lynn town archive and collections being transferred to Norwich, ahead of £2.7m Stories of Lynn project
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Like a treasure trove of family heirlooms, countless works of art have been carefully packed away in preparation for their transfer 50 miles across the county - but they will be back.
The bulk of the civic treasures of King's Lynn housed at the Regalia Rooms at the 15th century Trinity Guildhall have been packed into boxes.
And the town's archive and collections - some of Norfolk's finest- will now be taken by a specialist removals firm to the Norfolk Record Office at County Hall in Norwich.
While they will not be on show at the record office, they will still be accessible to members of the public and for research purposes.
The collection is heading east, ahead of a multi-million pound project that will enable the priceless items to be better showcased and made more accessible to the public.
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The £2.7m Stories of Lynn multi-media exhibition and purpose-built archive/collection space on the site is due to open in Easter 2016, with work set to start as soon as the items have all been removed.
Medieval King's Lynn was a port of national importance in the Middle Ages and one of the largest cities in England.
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The town attracted traders from the Hanseatic League, a group of German cities whose ships came to Lynn with fish, furs, timber, wax and pitch and took away English wool, cloth and salt.
As a result, the town has a priceless collection of medieval items that attract thousands of visitors to the town each year.
Borough council chiefs hope that when the items are returned, following cleaning and any necessary conservation, the new Stories of Lynn exhibition will bring even more people into the town.
The new exhibition and archive space is also expected to boost visitor numbers to other attractions across the town and borough.
County archivist Gary Tuson said that a specialist removals firm was hired to transport the collections and he said the items, many of which are priceless, were carefully packed in special boxes.
Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk Council's cabinet member for culture, tourism and marketing, said: 'Today marks the moment when all our planning is beginning to be turned into reality.
'Medieval Lynn had a thriving economy and active political life. The legacy of these times is evident in our extensive archive and the very fabric of the magnificent buildings which make up the town hall complex.
'Stories of Lynn will enable this history to be brought to life, giving people greater access both to the buildings and archive, and, through the multi-media exhibitions and programme of activities, new ways to explore our history.'
Nick Daubney, the council's leader, said people in King's Lynn were extremely privileged to have an archive, collections and heritage buildings of such importance.
'The work that we are about to embark upon will make the most of these cultural assets, foregrounding our rich heritage for residents and visitors to enjoy,' he added.
The collection housed at the museum also includes a number of ceremonial items, such as the Queen Anne silver maces and the King John Sword. These items will be retained in the borough and continue to be used at civic functions, including the mayor-making in May.
The King John Cup and sword will also be retained within the borough and will be exhibited as part of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
The silver and enamel King John Cup is the earliest medieval secular standing cup in England, and dates to 1340.
The first phase of work on the 'Stories of Lynn' project will focus upon the creation of the new archive document store, collections resource area, enhancement of the existing exhibition spaces and the construction of a new lift and stair extension to the rear of the complex.
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