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Prison break - Escape room plan touted for former jail building

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 January 2019

Aladair Willett from History Mystery Games in the undercroft of the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: Nick Butcher

Aladair Willett from History Mystery Games in the undercroft of the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

For centuries it served as law courts and a prison, close to one of the city's most revered buildings.

The Shirehall, which could host a new escape rooms game Picture: Denise BradleyThe Shirehall, which could host a new escape rooms game Picture: Denise Bradley

However, this year the Shirehall in Norwich could be set to become a place where people are encouraged to achieve the one thing some the historic building’s previous visitors were not permitted to do - escape.

The former law house is being touted as a new location for an escape room game, organised as part of a partnership between the Norfolk Museums Service and a company called History Mystery.

It is the same combination that last year brought the Merchants’ Vaults game to the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, which has proved ever-popular since its May launch.

In a report to the Norwich joint museums committee, Steve Miller, NMS assistant director, revealed the building would soon host the new game.

However, Lisa Willett, of History Mystery, said the game was still a way off from being a sealed deal.

She said: “We have been talking with the museums service about setting up a new game and the Shirehall is another perfect location for us.

“We have had conversations about it, but at the moment nothing is set in stone and we haven’t began preparing a storyline.”

The Merchants’ Vaults game was the first in the company’s partnership with the museums service and requires players to follow a series of clues tied in with the city’s industrial history.

The same company also run games from Blickling Hall, Norwich’s Guildhall and will soon open another game underneath KindaKafé on Castle Meadow.

A recent phenomenon, the escape rooms industry is ever-growing in popularity, with other venues in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Fakenham and Dereham.

The interactive games see players locked in a room filled with clues and codes they must crack to escape within a certain time period.

Mrs Willett added: “I think they are becoming so popular is that nowadays people are getting more of a craving for experiences and memories, rather than things.

“The game in the Museum of Norwich has been incredibly popular and we’ve been getting tremendous feedback.”

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