Colchester Castle Museum to reopen this May

Essex County Standard: Colchester Castle Museum to reopen this May Colchester Castle Museum to reopen this May

ONE of Colchester’s biggest tourist attractions will reopen on May 2 following a £4.2 million overhaul.

Colchester Castle Museum will now feature new displays and artefacts while offering visitors a greater impression of what life was like in Europe’s biggest surviving Norman Keep.

The museum has been closed since March 2013 while the revamp, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Union, Colchester Council, the Arts Council and local groups, takes place.

Robyn Llewellyn, lottery fund head for the east, said: “Colchester Castle is one of the finest surviving Norman buildings in Britain, a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed.

“We are delighted to see the opening of the refurbished museum in sight, and look forward to the reinterpretation of some the most fascinating stories in our Island’s history.”

Comments (2)

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6:00pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Alex Iping says...

Colchester’s Castle claims the largest Norman Keep in Europe and was designed along the same lines as the Tower of London and attracts 100,000 visitors a year.

Visiting the Castle cost £6.25 for adults and £4.00 for children. Yet across the road stands the free to enter Firstsite, which attracted a claimed 147,000 visitors to its year-end, along with annual grants of £850,000 from the Arts Council and £150,000 from Colchester Borough Council.

On 21st November 2013 Colchester Council announced it was cutting their funding to Firstsite by 15% to help maintain frontline services. Then on the 19th January 2014 it was announced in the Essex County Standard that Firstsite had just been awarded a further £292,500 to help boost tourism to Essex - despite their visitor numbers falling by 25,000 in their second year of operation.

Firstsite’s story is an interesting one, it opened on the 25th September 2011 at a cost of £22,450,000 and can boast, 5,446 twitter followers and 319,000 visitors during its first two years.

Compare that to Turner Contemporary, the art gallery in Margate which also opened in 2011. The Turner Contemporary was designed by David Chipperfield, cost £12,937,000 to build and on its second birthday had attracted 850,000 visitors and 36,500 twitter followers despite a population of only 61,223 and an annual arts council grant of £570,000.

Given that one can achieve remarkable things on less money, as the Turner Contemporary have proven, it would seem to make sense for Colchester Borough Council to open the Castle (which receives no Arts Council funding) for free when it re-launches this spring and instead allow Firstsite to introduce an admissions charge.

Perhaps then Colchester Castle could attract even more people to this beautiful and historic town, where they might decide to spend their money in our shops, hotels and restaurants.
Colchester’s Castle claims the largest Norman Keep in Europe and was designed along the same lines as the Tower of London and attracts 100,000 visitors a year. Visiting the Castle cost £6.25 for adults and £4.00 for children. Yet across the road stands the free to enter Firstsite, which attracted a claimed 147,000 visitors to its year-end, along with annual grants of £850,000 from the Arts Council and £150,000 from Colchester Borough Council. On 21st November 2013 Colchester Council announced it was cutting their funding to Firstsite by 15% to help maintain frontline services. Then on the 19th January 2014 it was announced in the Essex County Standard that Firstsite had just been awarded a further £292,500 to help boost tourism to Essex - despite their visitor numbers falling by 25,000 in their second year of operation. Firstsite’s story is an interesting one, it opened on the 25th September 2011 at a cost of £22,450,000 and can boast, 5,446 twitter followers and 319,000 visitors during its first two years. Compare that to Turner Contemporary, the art gallery in Margate which also opened in 2011. The Turner Contemporary was designed by David Chipperfield, cost £12,937,000 to build and on its second birthday had attracted 850,000 visitors and 36,500 twitter followers despite a population of only 61,223 and an annual arts council grant of £570,000. Given that one can achieve remarkable things on less money, as the Turner Contemporary have proven, it would seem to make sense for Colchester Borough Council to open the Castle (which receives no Arts Council funding) for free when it re-launches this spring and instead allow Firstsite to introduce an admissions charge. Perhaps then Colchester Castle could attract even more people to this beautiful and historic town, where they might decide to spend their money in our shops, hotels and restaurants. Alex Iping
  • Score: 8

8:51pm Tue 4 Feb 14

jim_bo says...

Brilliant idea Alex, sadly CBC see the castle as a revenue stream.

Although no one mentions the real reason for closure, the inside building from 1960's has concrete cancer and needed replacing before the roof fell in.
Brilliant idea Alex, sadly CBC see the castle as a revenue stream. Although no one mentions the real reason for closure, the inside building from 1960's has concrete cancer and needed replacing before the roof fell in. jim_bo
  • Score: 1

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