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Event celebrates ambitious project to transform Norwich Castle’s keep

PUBLISHED: 20:42 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 21:11 04 October 2016

Launch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Launch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Ambitious plans to transform Norwich Castle’s keep back to how it would have been in Medieval times have been celebrated at a special launch event.

Launch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYLaunch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England is a £13m four-year project that aims to return the centuries-old keep back to its former glory as it appeared in the days of King Henry I, recreating the main Norman floor and giving visitors the chance to experience the splendour of the historic landmark as a royal palace.

Major funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund means that much of the money is already in place for the project which is now in its development stage, with construction due to begin in 2018.

Tonight some of the project’s key supporters attended a launch to hear more about the vision.

Steve Miller, head of Norfolk Museums Service, said: “Plans to develop the keep here at Norwich Castle have been about 130 years in the making. The reinstatement of the Norman floor was a clearly stated desire of the great Victorian architect Edward Boardman when he was commissioned by the Museums Committee to repurpose the building in the late 19th century. In many ways the aims of the project that we have before us are very simple - firstly to recreate the Norman royal palace as it would have been in the 12th century and secondly to deliver a world class British Museum partnership gallery of the medieval period.”

Launch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. Steve Miller, head of museums.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYLaunch of the Norwich Castle keep project 'Gateway to Medieval England'. Steve Miller, head of museums. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He thanked all of the supporters and funders for their support and also said the project would lift the special relationship Norfolk Museums Service has with the British Museum to a new level.

John Ward, chairman of Norfolk Joint Museums Committee and chairman of Norfolk Museums Development Foundation, said: “In the Middle Ages Norwich was the second city in England, today it is one of the country’s most complete medieval cities with much to offer its visitors in terms of culture and heritage. This project will help to raise the profile of this inspiring and wonderful place.”

From October 31 the keep will be closed to the public for a week to enable a specialist metric survey to take place to help understand what the castle’s interiors were like when it was a Norman palace and at other times in its history.

Do you have a heritage arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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