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Support for bid to re-open King's Lynn's historic Guildhall of St George

PUBLISHED: 18:38 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:53 13 February 2017

The Guildhall of St George. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

The Guildhall of St George. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

A leisure trust has agreed to donate £10,000 towards the restoration of King's Lynn's historic Guildhall of St George.

The Guildhall in 1962. Picture: Archant libraryThe Guildhall in 1962. Picture: Archant library

The 15th Century building, which housed the King’s Lynn Arts Centre, closed at the end of 2015, when the trust which ran it said the building was “no longer viable”.

Late last year, West Norfolk council officials revealed a bid for £2.7m in lottery funding to repair and update the Guildhall of St George, on King Street. A further £500,000 bid has been sumitted to the Arts Council, to refurbish the interior.

Now Alive Leisure, which runs the nearby Corn Exchange, has pledged to support the project and donate £10,000.

Elizabeth Nockolds, the council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We are delighted that Alive Leisure have demonstrated their commitment to this project by pledging this support. We won’t know whether or not our bids to the Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund have been successful until June and April of this year respectively. But having a demonstration of this level of commitment from one of our partners will certainly help our case.”

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at the Guildhall in 1951. Picture: Archant libraryQueen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, at the Guildhall in 1951. Picture: Archant library

Peter Lemon, chairman of Alive Leisure, said: “We are pleased to be involved with this project and hope that our pledge of £10,000 towards it demonstrates our commitment. The Guildhall will be programmed by Alive Leisure if the bids are secured and this will offer opportunities to explore partnerships with a range of local and national organisations, including Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Creative Arts East and Festival Bridge.”
The bid covers work to the Fermoy Gallery to bring the environmental and security conditions up to the standard to be able to host national exhibitions working with the Norfolk Museums Service, which has a strong track record in contemporary and historic visual arts. The Red Barn would become a dual-use space capable of holding exhibitions but also providing a potential bar.

The bid also included proposals for converting the Shakespeare Barn for the Building Conservation Trust to enable students to gain degree qualifications in historic building techniques. This would give them the opportunity of studying for a heritage qualification in a heritage environment.

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