Funding plea to ensure Jorvik Viking Centre re-opens

Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond
Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond
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A PLEA for extra money to restore the flood-damaged Jorvik Viking Museum in York as quickly as possible has been rejected by the Government, but they say the Arts Council England may deliver a financial life-line.

The centre on Viking history attracts 400,000 visitors a year, and is a major draw for visitors to the city of York. It closed in late December when water rushed into the museum, engulfing its mannequins and mock houses in the first incident of flooding at the museum in its 32 year history.

Flooding in York city centre in December 2015.

Flooding in York city centre in December 2015.

However a demand for the Government to match fund financial packages put forward by the City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council has not been met with support from the Conservatives.

Baroness Harris of Richmond, said the museum needed to be brought back to life as soon as possible in a question to the Conservative's representative in the House of Lords.

The Lib Dem peer and former North Yorkshire County Councillor, said: "When I visited the Jorvik Viking Centre in York last week it was a scene of utter devastation.

"It's a world renowned tourist attraction and educational centre, provided by the excellent York Archaeological Trust, of which I am a member, and which depends largely on its funding from the viking centre. The Trust could be destroyed by this enormous loss of revenue."

Jorvik Viking Centre in York flooded for the first time since it opened in the 1980s during the winter storms.

Jorvik Viking Centre in York flooded for the first time since it opened in the 1980s during the winter storms.

She said both councils were anxious to see the attraction restored and wanted the Government to commit to match funding their future financial contributions.

The Earl of Courtdown, said that he appreciated Jorvik Viking Centre is of 'international renown' and there was £200m available across the country to help communities hit by the storms in 2015/16. There is also a flood recovery grant that can be drawn on for those directly or indirectly hit by the storms.

However he wouldn't be drawn on the specific request for match funding from Baroness Harris.

He said: "This Government is committed to supporting all businesses, including tourism businesses affected by the floods. We are currently working with Visit England and Visit Britain to highlight what is on offer and encourage visitors to book holidays to the region in the Easter period.

"The Arts Council England is in active discussion with museums in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria following the flooding and is considering what support can be provided."

It was announced last year that York’s Jorvik Viking Centre has joined forces with other attractions from Dublin to Denmark as part of a four year project which will receive almost £2m in European Union funding.

The programme will include an international touring roadshow which will visit 12 key Viking locations including the Jorvik Centre in February 2019.