Norwich Castle’s bid to transform historic keep into how it looked in Norman heyday gets a £460,000 boost

Norwich Castle gardens.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Castle gardens.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A multi-million pound bid to transform Norwich Castle's keep into one of the region's premier heritage attractions has today moved a step closer after a major funding boost.

Norwich Castle Keep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Castle Keep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Norfolk Museums Service has received earmarked funding of £462,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England project which aims to re-present the historic keep as it appeared during its heyday under the great Norman kings.

The initial grant provides development funding to help the museums service progress these ambitious plans and undertake a major public fundraising campaign.

A further £8.7m has been earmarked towards the project and a second application for the full grant will be made at a later date.

This first award will enable a programme of study to record, interpret and understand the keep fully, as well as identify essential repairs and conservation work.

George Nobbs, leader of Norfolk County Council, said: 'This is probably the greatest moment in the history of the castle since it opened as a museum in 1894. It is the result of many years of work by so many people who struggled to bring this day about. It's not only about the £462,400 – that's just the first stage which we hope will unlock another £8.7m that the HLF has already earmarked for this project.'

As part of the new project, visitors will be able to engage fully with the building through greater access, new displays and learning and event programmes.

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Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: 'Norwich Castle is one of Europe's most spectacular medieval keeps and home to a wonderful historical collection. We are recognising its potential by funding a range of plans to enhance the museum's existing displays and creating a complementary British Museum Gallery of the Medieval Period.'

The revitalised keep, displayed and interpreted as a Norman royal palace, is expected to open to the public by 2020.