£1.2m work starts at Framlingham Castle to improve visitor experience
PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 December 2016
A £1.2million major upgrade of Framlingham Castle to improve its visitor experience and public exhibitions has been announced.
A new 40-seat café, improved exhibition space and the reinstatement of an original mezzanine level in the 12th century castle’s Poorhouse were revealed in a package of planned improvements yesterday.
English Heritage has started work on the first phase of a two-stage project.
Steve Bax, historic properties director for English Heritage in the London and East region, said: “We’re delighted to have started working on this exciting visitor improvement project at Framlingham Castle.
“The site has a fascinating history and creating a new interpretation and exhibition space will enable visitors to uncover the castle’s many stories including how, behind its walls, Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England. A new café will also be a great addition to the site for visitors to enjoy.”
During the first phase, which is due to be completed in June 2017, a 7.5 metre slide will be installed from the wall walk into the castle’s inner court for visitors to enjoy.
An original mezzanine level will be reinstated in the castle’s Poorhouse in order to create a new interpretation, allowing visitors to learn about the castle’s history.
The new cafe and an extended retail space will be situated on the ground floor of the Poorhouse, where the exhibition is currently situated.
Meanwhile the Red House, which sits in the grounds of the castle, will be used for office and storage space and will house the café’s kitchen and service area.
Annual conservation work will also take place on some of the castle’s walls.
Following the first phase of the project, English Heritage is planning to fundraise for a second phase which would involve the creation of a 360 degree ‘wall walk’.
Accessibility for disabled visitors and families with buggies would also be improved to the wall walk. A lift would be installed to give them access to a newly-built balcony area.
Mr Bax added: “Once the first phase of the project is complete, we’ve then got some ambitious plans to add a new section to the wall walk; this section would be fully accessible for wheelchairs and buggies and will create a 360 degree wall walk experience.”
Throughout the project, Framlingham Castle will be open at weekends and is due to re-open fully in summer 2017.
But the site will be open over the Christmas period, from Tuesday, December 27 to Saturday, December 31.
Visitors will still be able to access the wall walk while the works are ongoing and enjoy the slide once it is installed. However, the Poorhouse will be closed due to the building works taking place.
English Heritage is working with architects Acanthus Clews. Builders Heritage Building and Conservation have been appointed to carry out the building works following a tender process.
Framlingham Castle survives as a rare example of an intact curtain wall with wall walk. Surrounded by parkland and estates, it was once at the centre of a vast network of power and influence.
Its owners for over 400 years were the Earls and Dukes of Norfolk, the supreme magnates in East Anglia – rich, ambitious and influential both at home and abroad.