Capital Project: Monastery to Museum 900

In August 2016, the redeveloped museum and newly conserved 12th century undercroft reopened to the public following the HLF funded project, 'Monastery to Museum 900'.     

Norton Priory is the most excavated medieval monastic site in Europe and as a result boasts some of the most incredible stories and objects from this nationally significant historical asset. The new museum tells these stories and displays the wonderful collections more completely than ever before as well as preserving the grade 1 listed 12th century undercroft.

A first floor viewing gallery above the undercroft now provides stunning views over the ruins as well as providing space for substantial new displays of the objects excavated from the site visible below. Many of these are being exhibited for the first time.


August 2016

The new museum is open!
Unprecedented numbers of visitors have already visited and feedback has been fantastic. We've a few niggles to deal with and we have identified some access improvements that need to be made but we have been delighted with the public response. Thank you to everyone for their support!

April 2016

The infrastructure to the redeveloped museum and its new extension is now complete meaning that you can see the stunning spaces in which the new exhibitions will feature. St Christopher has already been moved to his new location in the reception 'atrium'.

These pictures shows the new reception area (left) and the first floor gallery (right) above the undercroft. This new exhibition space will help the museum to display more than four times the objects that were previously on display. The views out onto the ruins are also stunning. 

The conservation of the undercroft is also progressing well. The floor has been stabilised and the old Victorian tiles cleaned and replaced with replicas where they were missing or could not be saved. Once completed the tiled floor will be entirely restored to how it would have looked in the 19th century.   

October 2015

HH Smith & Sons have been hard at work and the museum is now barely recognisable! The ailing 1980's roof of the undercroft has been safely removed in preparation for its modern replacement; The extension floor and lift shaft have been installed and work started on the structure for the new cafe.

The collections team have also been busy and, thanks to Wellcome Trust support, samples of bones from individuals who had been buried at Norton have been taken for DNA analyses. The results of this and all of the scientific research currently being undertaken will feature in the displays. The plans for these displays are shaping up nicely with the help of Jo Rutherford's award winning photography giving a sense of the people who lived and worked at Norton Priory from the 12th to the 20th century.

January 2015

Planning permission has been granted and work has now begun with diggers moving in to start the foundations for the new entrance and atrium area. Archaeologists have also started removing the Victorian tile floor in the undercroft to allow conservation work which will stabilise the floor levels, before all the tiles are carefully relaid again. However, not all the tiles can be saved due to the cracks caused from the sinking floor. We have launched a public fundraising appeal asking people to donate £10 which will pay for a replica tile to be produced, allowing us to recreate the whole floor and make this once again the impressive entrance area it once was.

October 2014

We are delighted to have been awarded a £100,000 grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation. The grant means that we are now able to progress the project with no further delays. We will do some initial arcaheological investigation in the areas that will be disturbed during the construction to ensure that heritage is preserved. Construction itself is scheduled to begin at the beginning of March 2015.  

We still have a lot of fundraising to do however, with just under £100,000 still to be raised.

August 2014

The HLF have awarded Norton Priory £3.7m! Halton Borough Council are also joining the project as partners, drawing upon their expertise in construction and procurement. In addition to HBC we have been offered financial support by Arts Council England, The Wolfson Foundation, Foyle Foundation and Granada Foundation. However, we still have £190,000 to raise before we will be able to start the programme of redevelopment and conservation. If you would like to help and you would like to see the many ways in which a donation could directly fund valuable work as well putting your or a loved one's name as a dedication in the new museum please click here

April 2014

Norton Priory's Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has now been submitted. We have a nervous wait until the summer before we find out if we have been successful. A planning application has also been submitted to Halton Borough Council.

Here are the latest images from project architects Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams. 


Please use the box below to leave us any feedback about our plans for Norton Priory.

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