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Jewry Wall Museum to close its doors for refurbishment

Published on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A MUSEUM telling the story of Leicester’s Roman history is due to close its doors next month ahead of major refurbishment works.

Proposals were announced earlier this year to transform Jewry Wall Museum into a world-class visitor attraction, showcasing its outstanding collections, some of the UK’s tallest civilian Roman structures and the impressive remains of a Roman bathhouse.

Initial plans for the new museum have already been revealed, and the next step is to go out to tender so contractors can be appointed to begin work on delivering the project.

The museum will close its doors on July 30, so work can begin to empty the current displays, including numerous mosaic floors and tiles, pottery and relics of the city’s ancient history.

Approval has now been given to spend £696,000 on the process –  £371,000 towards the move, conservation and preparation of the priceless Roman exhibits, and £325,000 for the next stage of the project including completion of the design process and appointment of contractors.

Initial designs produced earlier this year showed how the new visitor attraction would bring to life the fascinating story of Leicester during Roman times.

Designs could include a welcoming new entrance foyer, lift and staircase and a recreation of Leicester’s Vine Street Villas, which occupied part of the Roman city near the site of the modern day Highcross car park.

Visitors will also be able to use interactive displays on the Roman invasion and occupation of Leicester, which brought soldiers and traders from across the Mediterranean and North Africa to settle in the city.

The work is part of a major investment in the Jewry Wall site, which has already involved putting more than £1.5million aside to create a new public ramp/walkway from St Nicholas Circle.  

A final decision on the overall amount of investment committed to the Jewry Wall redevelopment project is due in late July.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “I’ve made a commitment to transform Jewry Wall into a world-class visitor centre worthy of this city, and the next stage of this investment is to get more detailed, technical level designs of how it can work. 

“We will be putting this out to tender in order to attract professional expert designers who can take these broad ideas one step closer to reality.

“At the same time, the work means removing the items currently at Jewry Wall Museum to our other museum stores for safekeeping, which unfortunately means the museum itself will temporarily close to the public.

“The fit out of the building to a world-class standard will not come cheaply, and we are also having to invest in the fabric of the building itself to ensure it is suitable to be used.

“So I’ll be looking closely at the figures involved to determine how much we should invest in this project.”