Welcome to Norwich. This is Samson, Norwich’s favorite nightclub doorman. We need your help to secure his future.
The Museum of Norwich needs to raise £15,000 to bring the recently restored original Samson statue back to Norwich
and proudly place him at the heart of the museum.
Most people in Norwich will recognise Samson and Hercules either as a local landmark in this fine mediaeval city
or from memories of dancing and drinking when this building was a nightclub.
For over 60 years, Samson and Hercules attracted big bands in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s and party-goers until the late ’90s.
Many local people met their partners and held their wedding reception here.
But all the time Samson has stood guard outside this magnificent building, no-one suspected he was hiding an incredible secret.
By the 1990s, Samson and Hercules had seen better days.
In 1993, Samson’s arm became detached and fell away, and then the statues were moved for their own protection.
That’s when these fibreglass replicas were installed and that’s when an amazing discovery was made.
X-rays showed underneath countless layers of paint, a far older, more intricate and more beautiful figure lay hidden.
The original oak-carved figure of Samson was revealed.
Tests show that whilst Hercules was a Victorian replica, Samson dated from the early 17th century.
The figures had been installed in 1657 outside this - 16 Tombland -the house belonging to Mayor Christopher Jay.
Jay was a draper, freeman, mayor and MP for the city.
After much negotiation, Norfolk Museums Service acquired the pair in the late 1990s,
but it was not until 2014 that conservation work really began.
Over the past couple of years, Samson has been worked on by conservators Plowden & Smith at their lab in London.
They have painstakingly removed layers and layers of lead paint to unveil the most intricate of features,
including curly long hair, strong arms bulging with popping veins and muscle and the bushy-tailed fox being carried by Samson.
Now the conservation work is complete, the Museum of Norwich wants to display Samson in a state-of-the-art display case,
where he can stand proud once again, giving visitors the chance to see him in his glory as he once looked over 350 years ago.
But the museum needs your help to make this happen. As a thank you for your donation we have a range of exclusive rewards
including a limited edition print by artist Leander Jane, a stylish tote bag with a linocut of Samson’s face,
behind-the-scenes tours with our conservator and curator including a sneak preview of the restored statue.
Please help us to save Samson and safeguard the future of this unique Norwich icon. So he can be enjoyed by generations to come.