Historic Norwich hall set for further revamp

A cutaway of what the buildings at Earlham Hall will look like. Pic: LSI Architects.

A cutaway of what the buildings at Earlham Hall will look like. Pic: LSI Architects. - Credit: LSI Architects

Parts of an historic hall, once home to some of Norwich's most influential families, are to be given a new lease of life.

The University of East Anglia bought Earlham Hall, which had previously leased, from Norwich City Council for £700,000 in 2010, to use as a new home for its School of Law.

The hall itself underwent an £8m refurbishment and students returned there in 2014. But attention has now shifted to transforming the buildings in the courtyard of the Grade II* listed structure.

Planning permission has been granted for alterations and repairs to the courtyard buildings, including the former coach house, stables and coal house.

The project, designed by LSI Architects, will allow the School of Law and the Enterprise Centre at the UEA to use the buildings as extra seminar and meeting rooms.

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But another of the UEA's goals is to create an exhibition space to tell the story of the hall in a former coal house.

The hall, which dates back to 1580, and its outbuildings have significant historic connections with the banking family the Gurneys. They leased the hall from 1786 to 1912, while the 19th century prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, grew up there.

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In the 1940s it was used as a maternity house and midwife teaching facility and, in the 1950s, it was an annexe to Bluebell Girls School.

Trevor Price, partner at LSI Architects said 'The proposals are integrated in the Grade II* buildings in a sensitive way to retain the unique character of an attractive collection of red brick utilitarian buildings while achieving an arrangement of interiors that accommodates modern, bespoke seminar spaces and facilities within an historic fabric and context.

'By re-using the existing stables, coach house and staff accommodation, this sensitive conversion will retain existing features and finishes to tell the story of the previous uses.

'Domestic features such as an existing stair and stove will be retained in what was the domestic wing. Saddle hooks and timber panelling will be kept in the tack room, and stalls and stable blocks will remain in the stables.'

The exhibition space will be open to the public on published visitor and open days.

• Do you have memories of Earlham Hall? Tell us about them by writing to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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