Leicester City Coucil wants to transform the Jewry Wall Museum into an attraction celebrating the English city’s Roman heritage.
The 1960s-built facility stands next to the ancient Roman remains of St Nicholas Circle. If plans lodged with the City Council’s planning department are given approval, then £7 million ($9m/€8m) will be spent merging space left vacant when the University of Leicester quit the old Vaughan College.
Currently free to enter, the museum is visited by about 27,000 people annually. The mayor of Leicester, Sir Peter Soulsby, hopes the new visitor centre will bring in 80,000 to 100,000 paying visitors. The museum’s focus would be the Jewry Wall itself, one of the UK’s biggest remaining civilian Roman structures, along with the remains of a Roman bathhouse.
Telling the story of life in Ratae, the Roman name for Leicester, there are proposals for outdoor projections onto the Jewry Wall, as well as a new entrance foyer. Once inside, visitors will also be able to wander through a recreation of Leicester’s Vine Street Villas. There will also be interactive displays on the Roman invasion and occupation of Leicester, when traders from across the Mediterranean and North Africa settled in the East Midlands city.
If funding can be put in place, the new look museum could be open within “a couple of years”.
Images courtesy Jewry Wall Museum/Leicester City Council