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After a “long journey” group hopes a museum will open in Watton this year

PUBLISHED: 17:30 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 28 March 2017

Museum4Watton hope the museum will be situated at Wayland Hall. Picture: Graham Corney

Museum4Watton hope the museum will be situated at Wayland Hall. Picture: Graham Corney

The bid by a group of volunteers to open a permanent museum in Watton has said it has “taken longer” than expected but progress is being made, its chairman has said.

Members of the Museum4Watton group wth 3,000 pages of documents containing 350 years of the towns history. Pictured are (L) Chris Hutchinson and chairman John Greenbrook. Picture: Ian Burt Members of the Museum4Watton group wth 3,000 pages of documents containing 350 years of the towns history. Pictured are (L) Chris Hutchinson and chairman John Greenbrook. Picture: Ian Burt

An application for planning permission and listed building consent for alterations has been submitted to Breckland Council by Museum4Watton.

The group hopes to house the museum at Wayland Hall and is seeking permission to add a removable wall to separate a room, which will be used by the museum, from the remaining town hall.

Chris Hutchings, chairman of the group, said he hopes the museum will be open sometime this year.

“It is now, touch wood, all coming to fruition,” he said. “It has taken a lot longer than we had hoped but we are on course. At the present time we are hoping to get the funding to complete the job.”

Museum4Watton is looking to raise £20,000 for the initial works to set the museum up and a further £20,000 to cover the running costs over three years.

There will be two major rooms to the museum.

The first room, which will be situated downstairs, will be an education and research centre. This will include books and items in relation to the history of the town and there will be four touch screen computers.

This room will hold copies of the 3,000 pages of court baron minute books and documents, dating from the 17th century.

The actual documents will be available to view by appointment.

MORE - Watton Earth? Documents discovered at auction reveal 350 years of town’s history

A room on the first floor will be an archive. Mr Hutchings has said the group has already got some artefacts to display and are working to accumulate more.

There will also be a military collection which relates to the RAF and USAF involvement at RAF Watton.

Mr Hutchings said: “It is important that we do have a town museum and it really should be in the town - and what better place than at the town hall.

“We have an increasing diverse population, who like myself, don’t actually come from Watton. With the museum we can show people what it is all about and its history.”

Mr Hutchings added: “It has been a long journey. We are a good group and there has been an awful lot of work gone into this so far. I don’t think people realise what goes into it from day one.”

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