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Deadline looming to support fund which will showcase historic Samson statue

PUBLISHED: 19:34 20 March 2018

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 2018

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 2018

Archant 2017

The deadline is looming for people donate to an online fundraiser to showcase a unique Norwich landmark.

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

An Art Fund page set up by the Norwich Museums and Archaeology Service to raise £15,000 to preserve the 17th century oak Samson statue closes at midnight this Thursday.

The 178cm tall carved figure flanked the former Samson and Hercules ballroom on Tombland, with fellow statue Hercules, for several decades from the 1930s.

If raised, the £15,000 will pay for a temperature and light-controlled glass display case for Samson at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell.

The online fundraiser was launched on February 13 and just over £10,000 has been pledged.

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

If the total is not reached Samson, who has been lovingly restored, will remain in storage at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

Jenny Caynes, curator of community history at Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, said: “If we don’t reach the target we don’t get the money - it is all or nothing.

“Over the last four years layers of paint have been painstakingly removed. It will not be a positive outcome if Samson went back into storage.

“The support we have had has been brilliant. We know that because the Samson and Hercules figures are iconic and the building they stood outside means so much to people, they have really got behind the campaign.”

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

The fundraiser received a financial pledge of £2,500 from Friends of Norwich Museums but to date other pledges have come from 267 people.

The majority of support has been from across Norfolk but potential funders have come from as far as Dallas in America.

Samson was first installed outside the Tombland home of Norwich mayor Christopher Jay in 1657, alongside a similar statue called Hercules.

Research has revealed that the original Hercules figure was damaged and replaced in the Victorian era with a replica. That figure remains in storage.

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

But the original Samson statue survived.

“He is unique,” added Ms Caynes.

If the £15,000 is raised he will be a permanent exhibition at the Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell from February next year.

To donate visit www.artfund.org/saving-samson



Timeline of Tombland’s Samson and Hercules figures

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

1657: Christopher Jay, Mayor of Norwich, installs Samson and Hercules outside his home.

1789: The figures are moved to the rear courtyard where they remained for a century.

1890: Antique dealer George Cubitt reinstalls the figures outside the premises, returning the original Samson but replacing the old Hercules with a copy as the original had decayed.

1934: Builder Edward Bush transforms Samson and Hercules House into a dance hall.

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

1983: The Samson and Hercules rebrands as Ritzy’s nightclub.

1993: When Samson’s arm falls off the figure is revealed to be covered by layers of thick paint. Both figures are removed for preservation.

1998/9: New fibreglass replicas of Samson and Hercules adorn the front of the building.

1999: Norfolk Museums Service becomes the owner of the figures and begins fundraising for their conservation.

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

2014: The original Samson relocates to Plowden & Smith Ltd in London where layers of paint are removed.

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

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

A dance at the Samson and Hercules in Norwich.
Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information ServiceA dance at the Samson and Hercules in Norwich. Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service

Samson and Hercules in 1908.
Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information ServiceSamson and Hercules in 1908. Photo: Image courtesy of Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service

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