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Norwich Guildhall to be restored

PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:11 01 July 2010

The Guildhall, in Gaol Hill

The Guildhall, in Gaol Hill

Dan Haynes

Long-awaited work to repair one of the most historic - and iconic - buildings in Norwich is finally set to start.

Long-awaited work to repair one of the most historic - and iconic - buildings in Norwich is finally set to start.

The Guildhall, in Gaol Hill, dates back to the 15th century and is a listed building, but some of its stonework is badly damaged and it has been surrounded by scaffolding for more than a year.

That sparked criticism last autumn from civic watchdog the Norwich Society, which was concerned that the largest medieval civic building outside of London was being neglected.

However, council bosses have announced £130,000 has been found for work to start next month on the historic building.

Norwich City Council's conservation team has been meeting English Heritage to agree how best to carry out the repairs and has decided the best solution is to partially dismantle the clock tower and rebuild it, using new stone where necessary.

All the iron pins which were used to hold the clock tower in place when it was built will need to be removed, because some of them have started to rust.

That is what has caused some sections of the stonework to split, so they will be replaced with stainless steel pins.

Those new pins will not rust and council bosses say that will mean the clock tower should have several more centuries of life left.

Alan Waters, the council's executive member for corporate resources and governance, said: “I am delighted that work will be starting on this historic building.”

Norwich Guildhall is an historically important listed building and was the centre of city government until its replacement by City Hall in 1938.

The work will be carried out by the council's facilities and building management team and specialist contractors Universal Stone, and will begin on July 1. It is expected to finish by November.

Vicky Manthorpe, administrator of the Norwich Society, said: “We are absolutely delighted that they have found the money to do this, because it makes such a big difference to the city centre.

“It is such a significant landmark and anyone who visits Norwich sees it there. Once the memorial gardens work is completed too, it will really lift that part of the city.”

Norwich's wonderful collection of historic buildings form a key part of the council's bid to attain City of Culture status for Norwich in 2013.

Are you trying to save part of Norwich's heritage? Tell us your story by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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