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Samson is saved! Crowdfunding campaign for iconic piece of Norwich history hits target

PUBLISHED: 11:14 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 23 March 2018

The Samson and Hercules replica figures at the Cocina restaurant in Tombland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Samson and Hercules replica figures at the Cocina restaurant in Tombland. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A crowdfunding campaign to put one of the city’s most iconic figures back on display has hit its fundraising target.

The Samson and Hercules nightclub, in Norwich, in 1960.
Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information ServiceThe Samson and Hercules nightclub, in Norwich, in 1960. Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service

More than 300 donors helped staff at the Museum of Norwich, at the Bridewell, raise the £15,000 needed to ensure the famous statue of Samson can come out of storage and go on display as the centrepiece of the museum’s first gallery.

The funds raised will enable the rare statue – carved from a single piece of oak and dates from the mid-17th century – to go back on display at the Museum of Norwich in a bespoke environmentally-controlled case, which will protect the fragile figure while making it accessible in its conserved form for the very first time.

The case and display area will take several months to complete. It is hoped the statue, currently in safe storage in the Norfolk Collections Centre at Gressenhall, will be unveiled in its new home by early 2019.

In the meantime donors to the campaign can look forward to receiving their Samson-related rewards which range from specially printed postcards, through to tote bags and limited edition prints featuring an image of Samson by Norwich-based artist Leanda Jaine Hughes.

The historic Samson statue which once stood on Tombland is now back after a restoration project. Currently being stored in Gressenhall, a funding campaign is running to raise money for a special case so he can be displayed at The Museum of Norwich.
Pictured is Wayne Kett, collections development assistant Norfolk Museums Service.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018The historic Samson statue which once stood on Tombland is now back after a restoration project. Currently being stored in Gressenhall, a funding campaign is running to raise money for a special case so he can be displayed at The Museum of Norwich. Pictured is Wayne Kett, collections development assistant Norfolk Museums Service. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Museum of Norwich Curator Jenny Caynes said: “We are beyond thrilled that we’ve reached our target thanks to a groundswell of support for this marvellous survivor from Norwich’s past.

“Many of our donors are local people for whom Samson clearly holds a special place in their hearts after his many years guarding the entrance to one of the city’s busiest nightspots.

“Since the campaign launched we’ve received many personal memories about Samson and the good times he represents for generations of local people.

“We’re very grateful to everyone who has contributed and are looking forward to displaying him in pride of place in the museum so everyone can enjoy him.”

Support from the Friends of Norwich Museums, The Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, The Geoffrey Watling Charity and the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society were also crucial in getting the campaign over the line.

The campaign launched on February 13 via the Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform, Art Happens, 
at www.artfund.org/saving-samson


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