Ross makes pledge on future of museums

9th February, 2011

If I become Mayor I will keep open to the public the Guildhall, Belgrave Hall, Abbey Pumping Station, Jewry Wall, Newarke Houses, and New Walk Museum. I want us to work with the Friends bodies, volunteers,  and our universities to see them flourish and end all talk of them ever closing or being sold off.

The main story today is our success in saving the Museums from closure. I had to do this in 2005 when the Lib Dem Tory coalition running the council agreed the very same cuts. I put forward a budget to reverse them and this was agreed by my Labour colleagues. I was surprised to see these proposals again, but glad that the majority of the Labour Group threw them out before they were implemented.

I want to go further and continue with plans that I initiated with the County Council to bring back into public use the Castle and Norman Great Hall, dating from the 11th Century. One of, if not the, finest building in the city. According to the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission’s (HBMC) notes, “this is said to be one of the finest Norman Halls in England…”. Externally it measures 84 feet by 58 feet, and was originally aisled. According to Professor Horn, it is “the oldest surviving aisled and bay-divided hall in Europe”. Of the arcade, one Norman scalloped timber capital has been preserved.

Wygston’s House has for several years been the home to a voluntary organisation when the costume collection moved to Snibston. I think we need to bring it back into public use as part of developing the Castle and Guildhall as important heritage centres and visitor attractions. We should also be looking at how we can re-open the Magazine Gateway. Especially as we have now moved the road and rescued it from its isolation. I remember going there as a child and it was great fun going up the winding staircase.

What do you think? comment below

Wygston’s House

Interior of Castle Great Hall

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