Roman museum to boost economy in Cumbria town

Michael Hunt

Plans to build a £11.5m Roman museum in Maryport, north Cumbria, were revealed today.

The attraction is expected to bring 50,000 visitors into the area and generate £4m for the local economy.

The major scheme has been backed by West Lakes Renaissance and West Cumbria Development Fund, which helped Hadrian's Wall Heritage during its purchase of 150 acres of Maryport farmland, known as Camp Farm.

The purchased site is a former Roman fort and village, believed to contain 170 buildings, which will form the centrepiece at the new museum.

The project is due to start in the spring of 2009 and expected to help sustain around 120 local jobs.

The new museum will house the rare collection of Roman military altar stones and Romano-British religious sculpture currently on display at Senhouse Roman Museum next to Camp Farm.

In Roman times, the site was home to some 500 people. The excavation will be the first of its kind on the frontier.

Maryport was once part of the extended defence of the Roman empire's northernmost frontier in Britain.

Hadrian's Wall Heritage was set up in 2006 to protect and conserve the World Heritage Site and to increase its contribution to the local and regional economy through sustainable tourism.

The Maryport project is expected to be completed and open by 2012.

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