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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust

News


Guildhall’s hidden historic mosaic floor restored and unveiled

Thursday, 11th February 2010

Guildhall’s hidden historic mosaic floor restored and unveiledGuildhall’s hidden historic mosaic floor restored and unveiled

Work to restore and uncover a beautiful, historic mosaic floor in Norwich Guildhall has been completed, leaving it on display for visitors to the building to enjoy.

It has been hidden from view in the ground floor Guildhall lobby under carpet tiles since the 1980s, but thanks to several city organisations contributing to its restoration, the mosaic has been restored and left on display.

The mosaic depicts the City Arms - the castle and lion - on a red circle with a laurel wreath around it, set on a white background with a coloured striped border. It was created at the turn of the last century by Italian mosaic artists, economic migrants to the city who lived in the Ber Street area. They also made mosaics which can be seen in Norwich Castle, Shirehall, Norwich University College of the Arts, City of Norwich School as well as some city shops.

The work was carried out to enhance the Guildhall, make another part of the city's heritage more accessible and to celebrate the craftsmanship of the mosaic artists who made it. The restoration was financed by contributions from Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART), Caleys Cocoa Café (both of which are housed in the Guildhall) and the Norwich Society, with the support of Norwich City Council which owns the building.

Specialist building restoration and stonemasonry company Rattee and Kett carried out the work, contracted by HEART. The work involved removing the existing carpet tiles covering the mosaic, cleaning the mosaic tiles and repairing small cracks. The mosaic is now visible free of charge to all visitors to the building.

Michael Loveday, Chief Executive of Norwich HEART, said: "Uncovering and restoring this mosaic is another piece of the city's fine heritage which is being made accessible for local people and visitors to enjoy. We are really pleased that the mosaic can provide the Guildhall's visitors with a stunning welcome, as befits a building of this stature."

Alec Hartley, Chairman of the Norwich Society, said: "It's particularly pleasant to be able to contribute to the repair and unveiling of this historic mosaic since it was the handiwork of yet another group of 'Strangers'. They were one of the many immigrant communities who have contributed so much to the economic and artistic life of Norwich."

This restoration follows £40,000 investment by HEART in the Guildhall for improvements and renovation of the building's fabric; increased interpretation and improved accessibility for members of the public; and equipment and facilities to expand office space for HEART staff and volunteers.

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Notes to editors

Opportunities for photos and interviews with Norwich HEART and restoration and stonemasonry company Rattee and Kett are available.

For more information please contact Christina Lister, Communications Manager at Norwich HEART on 01603 599570 or email christinalister@heritagecity.org

About Norwich HEART

Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is a private, charitable trust set up to act as an umbrella organisation for all of the heritage on offer in Norwich. We strategically plan, regenerate, manage and promote Norwich's heritage and act as a best practice model internationally for developing heritage as a social and economic regeneration vehicle.

www.heritagecity.org