Viking treasure’s boost to museum

A hoard of Viking silver is on display at  the Lancaster City Museum.
A hoard of Viking silver is on display at the Lancaster City Museum.

Record numbers of visitors have flocked to Lancaster City Museum to see one of the largest collections of Viking silver ever found in Britain.

More than 5,000 people went to see the Silverdale Hoard exhibition when it opened at school half-term.

And around 300 visitors a day continue to stop by. The figures are nearly 300 per cent up on the same period last year.

Valued at nearly £110,000, the Silverdale Hoard is made up of more than 200 items dating from around 900 AD.

The pieces include jewellery, coins and 141 silver fragments and ingots, known as hacksilver, which the Vikings used as money.

The hoard had been buried in a lead pouch under a field in Silverdale, where it lay for more than 1,000 years before being discovered by a local metal detectorist in September 2011.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “The public response to this superb exhibition shows the genuine interest and enthusiasm that our local history can inspire.

“And, of course, the boost to visitor numbers can only be good news for the local economy, with more people being drawn in to the city centre.”

The exhibition, called ‘The Silverdale Hoard – the story so far’, runs until December 21 and showcases the collection in the condition in which it was discovered.

The hoard will then move to its permanent home at the Museum of Lancashire in Preston. It will then be on show from February 15 to December 7 before further research and conservation work takes place.