Visitor numbers double at museum in first year
12 months after reopening, Norton Priory’s Heritage Lottery Funded museum has welcomed more than 60,000 visitors – double its previous figures – and has won several prestigious awards.
The museum won ‘Small Visitor Attraction of the Year 2017’ in the Marketing Cheshire Awards last week, having won the same award in 2016 and will go on to represent Cheshire in the VisitEngland national awards for this category. The museum was also ‘highly commended’ in the ‘Family Friendly Tourism Business of the Year’ and won ‘Best Sustainable Project’ in the Institution of Structural Engineers, North West Structural Awards 2017.
Councillor Eddie Jones, Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Visitor Economy, complimented the great work of Norton Priory staff in building on the impact of the remodelling of this very valuable amenity within our Borough: ‘The dramatic increase in visitor figures are testimony to how this already popular local and national visitor attraction has cemented it’s proper place as a prestigious archaeological site. This is also illustrated by the number of Award nominations we have received. The Council’s support and significant input has clearly been rewarded by the success evidenced.’
Frank Hargrave, Director at Norton Priory said, ‘It’s been a fantastic year. We’re seeing many more people visiting from further afield which is great for the local economy and local people have responded really positively, visiting us again and again – particularly for our family events. I think the judges for these awards recognise the role Norton Priory has in the local community.’
In 2014 Norton Priory were awarded a £3.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as support from Halton Borough Council, The Wellcome Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Arts Council England, The Wolfson Foundation, WREN, The Granada Foundation, The Pilgrim Trust and private donors to redevelop the museum and restore the 12th century undercroft and its Victorian decorative tiled floor. The museum reopened in August 2016 following an 18 month closure.