The creation of a new visitor centre at Framlingham Castle is about to begin. Bower Fuller has recently been awarded the mechanical and electrical services refurbishment of the existing visitor centre, which was originally the poorhouse inside the walls of the castle. Heritage Building and Conservation will re model the visitor centre to provide a new kitchen and café, shop and an interpretation and exhibition space, which English Heritage believe will enable visitors to uncover the castle’s many stories including how, behind its walls, Mary Tudor was proclaimed Queen of England.
Framlingham Castle dates back to the 12th Century. In 1635 the castle was sold to Sir Robert Hitcham a rich lawyer and philanthropist. He sadly died a year later but left instructions for a poorhouse to be built. After years of legal wrangling, the first poor families arrived in the mid-17th century settling into the Red House on the left of the picture and a new poorhouse building in the centre of the picture was finally erected on the site of the medieval castle’s hall in 1729. Just over a hundred years later, the last poorhouse inmates left, and the building was used as a parish hall. The Castle was given to the Ministry of Works by Robert Hitcham’s old Cambridge college, Pembroke, in 1913 and then the castle was passed to English Heritage in 1984 for safe keeping.