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Gateway to Medieval England

Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England is a major National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project that will reinstate the medieval floors and rooms in the Keep and also create a new visitor entrance, café and shop.

New displays and activities will immerse visitors in the sights and sounds of Norwich Castle Keep during its heyday as a Norman royal palace.

The project will open up the Keep from basement to battlements. The lavishly-decorated rooms that King Henry I would have seen on his visit to the Castle in 1121 will be recreated, transforming visitors’ understanding and experience of the Norman Keep. The result will bring to life one of Europe’s most important 12th century buildings right in the heart of Norwich.

Latest news:

January 2019

The Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England project is now even closer to our funding target, thanks to the Wolfson Foundation.

Norwich Castle has been awarded £200,000 to transform the visitor experience of the Norman Keep.

The Wolfson Foundation have announced their support of Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England as part of £12million awarded to outstanding UK projects through their latest round of funding. Other recipients of this grant include the National Portrait Gallery, Opera North and the Hepworth Wakefield.

We are delighted to announce that thanks to this latest grant from The Wolfson Foundation, Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England is now 97% funded. With the help of our supporters we can transform Norwich Castle, dramatically improving the layout and interpretation of the Norman Keep and allowing us to engage with a wider audience than ever before.

You too can be one of our supporters. Please visit Keep Giving and become a part of this epic story.

November 2018

Funding approved for project to enhance public facilities at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Plans to breathe new life into public spaces at Norwich Castle have received a major boost thanks to a £210,000 grant from FCC Environment.

The money, awarded through funding body WREN’s Flagship Project Scheme, will enable a programme of improvement works at Norwich Castle, which includes a major refurbishment of the public facilities, creation of a movable Early Years gallery and new public signage and displays. The project will give the main toilets, which have not been upgraded in nearly 20 years, a much-needed uplift and will also transform the Rotunda, which is a well-used multi-purpose space in the heart of the Museum, while celebrating its unique 1960’s architecture.

These enhancements will support our ambition to make Norwich Castle one of the most visited heritage attractions in the East of the England through our £13.5m Gateway to Medieval England project. Following an announcement in October 2018, we have been successful in our application for second-round funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enabling the Gateway to Medieval England project to progress through to its Delivery Phase. These complementary projects will shine a spotlight on Norwich Castle and create a new cultural centre and community resource in the heart of the City for the people of the City.

WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.

October 2018

Norfolk Museums Service has secured £9.2 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the Norwich Castle: Gateway to Medieval England project

This announcement includes an initial development grant of £462,400 approved by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in May 2016. Made possible by National Lottery players this latest major grant, combined with £3,593,500 raised from other public and private sources, will enable the multi-million pound plan to transform Norwich Castle’s iconic Keep to go ahead, subject to formal planning consent.

If the plans are approved, the work to make Norwich Castle one of the region’s premier heritage attractions can begin in earnest, with building work scheduled to commence in early Summer 2019 and the transformed Keep due to re-open in 2020.

The project aims to re-present the historic Keep as it appeared during its heyday under the great Norman kings. The plans include re-instating the original Norman floor level in the Keep, making all five levels of the Keep accessible for the first time; the development of a new medieval gallery, designed in partnership with the British Museum, that will showcase national medieval treasures alongside objects from Norfolk’s own internationally-significant collections; creating new visitor and school entrances; the development of new visitor facilities such as the café and shop and the creation of digital and learning spaces.

In addition to the National Lottery, the project has been supported through significant grants from a number of key funders including: Arts Council England, Charles Littlewood Hill Trust, East Anglia Art Fund, The Educational Foundation of Alderman John Norman, Friends of the Norwich Museums, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Geoffrey Watling Charity, John Jarrold Trust, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norwich Freeman’s Charity and the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust, as well as other funders who wish to remain anonymous. The Computer Service Centre and Expert Print Management have supported the project through the corporate appeal as a Corporate Benefactor and Corporate Member respectively.

The British Museum has been a lead partner through its role in developing proposals for the new medieval gallery. An Academic Advisory Board of distinguished specialists has been extremely generous with their time and expertise. The University of East Anglia has also provided expert advice and has recently become the project’s formal Academic Partner.

The project has also benefited from the invaluable support of English Heritage, HM Treasury, Historic England, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Record Office, Norwich Access Group, Norwich BID, Norwich Cathedral, Norwich City Council, Norwich Heritage Alliance, The Norwich Society, and University of Leicester.

The project has attracted significant support from the public who have taken time to provide feedback through numerous focus groups and consultations and have donated £22,500 to the Keep Giving campaign, including £9,000 raised through the project’s Adopt an Object scheme.

Read the full press release here

  • Norfolk County Council
  • Norwich County Council