Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Museum given refurbishment boost

Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle held over 200 women prisoners between 1645-1647

A museum in Essex has cleared the first hurdle in a bid to apply for £1.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Colchester Castle Museum has been awarded £265,300 lottery cash to help it develop plans for refurbishment of the Norman building and the displays.

The museum tells the story of the early development of the town which was Roman Britain's first capital.

It is also noted for its collections of Iron Age and Roman finds from Colchester and Essex.

The plans to refurbish the museum and building include new displays to incorporate the latest archaeological discoveries, such as the Roman Circus and town walls, repairing the roof and upgrading the heating system.

Museums manager Peter Berridge said: "We are so delighted with the news - this first round pass enables us to move forward into phase two of our plans to develop the Castle, its collections, stories and visitors' facilities."

Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service now has two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for the £1.6m of lottery funding needed for the £2.9m project.

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