British Museum could inspire Time and Tide revamp

The Great Court at the British Museum.

The Great Court at the British Museum. - Credit: Ian Nicholson / PA

One of the most famous museums in the world could provide the inspiration for a proposed major revamp of Great Yarmouth's Time and Tide attraction.

John Ward, chairman of Norfolk Joint Museums committee, said the site could benefit from a new roof over its courtyard, similar to the ceiling added to the British Museum's Great Court.

He was speaking at a meeting at which councillors agreed to draw up an 'expression of interest' ahead of a possible bid for National Lottery cash for the planned project at the Yarmouth museum.

The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth.

The Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The committee agreed officers could start work on what Steve Miller, director of culture and heritage at Norfolk County Council, described as the "first, tentative, steps" of putting a submission together.

The award-winning Time and Tide Museum - which showcases the town's fishing and tourism heyday - opened in a Victorian herring curing works in 2004 and bosses want to mark its 20th anniversary with an ambitious development.

One of the suggestions is that the project would create new spaces by sensitively adapting and glazing some of the museum courtyard space.

Museum bosses said that 'reimagined' space at the heart of the museum would help meet the increasing demand from visitors and schools, while also providing space for events to bring in extra income for the museum.

John Ward

Norfolk county councillor John Ward. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

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Mr Ward said the project could draw inspiration from the British Museum in London. Its Great Court was transformed in 2000 with the addition of a glass roof.

The Queen Elizabeth II Great Court at the British Museum.

The Great Court at the British Museum. - Credit: PA / Ian Nicholson

Mr Ward said: "Those of you who have been to the British Museum will have seen the glazed courtyard there.

"I see a mini version of that at Time and Tide, perhaps with a cafe inside there. That would be really nice."

Mr Miller said Time and Tide continued to get "super" Trip Advisor and mystery shopper reviews, but that no major work had been done since it opened nearly two decades ago.

He said, while officers had put forward some ideas, including the covered courtyard, nothing was yet set in stone.

Steve Miller

Steve Miller, director of culture and heritage at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Bill Smith

Mr Miller said there would be consultation and discussions with the community which he said was "at the heart" of the museum.

Bosses said existing galleries could be upgraded, while the project would also cut the museum's carbon footprint.