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Ely Museum

We recently completed the redevelopment and extension of Ely Museum, transforming the Grade 2 listed former Gaol and its surroundings. The £2.2m project has increased the floor area available for displays, created a new multi-purpose space for education and community programmes, and restored historic features previously hidden from view.

The project won listed building and planning consent in September 2018 and started on site in late 2019, following a successful Stage 2 funding decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Grade 2 listed building has a fascinating history as the Gaol of the Bishop of Ely. It was originally converted into a museum in 1997, with the addition of a small extension, and numerous internal alterations which obscured the historic plan form and features. Our project stripped out the unsympathetic alterations so that historic features, such as the original medieval stair and prisoner graffiti, can be celebrated as part of the museum displays and experience. An additional storey has been added to the 1997 extension, clad in handmade local tiles and with a beautiful copper-toned bay window overlooking Lynn Road, acting as a beacon for the museum.

The whole building is now fully accessible for the first time, with the addition of a lift and level floors throughout. All the museum displays have been renewed, with exhibition design completed by Simon Leach Design, allowing unique items such as the Gold Torc to be showcased fittingly alongside other treasures from the Museum’s collections. Archive and storage facilities have also been improved, enabling the museum to improve its income and ensure its future sustainability.