Staff at King’s Lynn Town Hall have started packing away the town’s archive and collections in preparation for a £2.7 million enhancement project.
Around 250 objects including the 14th century Red Register, one of the earliest paper records in England, the King John Charter, silverware and paintings will be carefully packed ready to be transferred to the Norfolk Record Office.
The collection housed at the town hall also includes a number of ceremonial items, such as the Queen Anne silver maces and the King John Sword. These items will be retained in the borough and continue to be used at civic functions, including Mayormaking in May.
The King John Cup, sword and a facsimilie of the King John Charter will also be retained within the borough and will be exhibited as part of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Following cleaning and any necessary conservation, all the items will return to King’s Lynn ready for the opening of a new Stories of Lynn multi-media exhibition and purpose-built archive space.
The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk has invested £800,000 into the project and has been made possible thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1,850,600.
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Marketing, said: “Today is a very exciting day for us, as it marks the moment where all our planning is beginning to be turned into reality.
“Medieval Lynn was a port of national importance with a thriving economy and active political life. The legacy of these times is evident in our extensive archive and the very fabric of the magnificent buildings which make up the town hall complex.
“Stories of Lynn will enable this history to be brought to life, giving people greater access both to the buildings and archive, and, through the multi-media exhibitions and programme of activities, new ways to explore our history.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund said, “Like a treasure trove of family heirlooms, these remarkable collections will be carefully packed away… but not for long! When they return they’ll be part of a multi-million pound project that puts the Stories of Lynn back at the heart of the town.”
Work is due to be completed by Easter 2016.