Funding to help tell story of Nottingham Castle

A horseman in costume rides out of Nottingham Castle

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has today endorsed Nottingham’s ambitious £12.9million funding bid to help transform Nottingham Castle and bring to life 1,000 years of history.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at £24m, which is proposed to be sourced from a number of bodies, including HLF.

The £12.9million earmarked funding from HLF includes a development grant of £600,000 to take forward the plans which would see Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery developed as a major heritage attraction offering fun and excitement for all the family and a nationally significant centre for learning about protest and rebellion.

The project to transform the Castle contains three main themes:

  • Nottingham Castle – 1000 years of history The changes being proposed will help bring to life the dramatic and amazing history of Nottingham Castle, from Norman fortress to Ducal Palace, exploring the amazing cave system and helping people to understand the history of Nottingham, as well as Britain, in the context of the Castle.
  • Robin and the Rebels – Protest, Rebellion and the Rise of Democracy This new interactive and participative gallery will enlist Robin Hood to lead visitors through the history of Nottingham and its Castle, exploring national and international issues around protest, rebellion and democracy, and bringing to life the story of Nottingham and its Castle in a new exciting, fun way that will appeal to everyone.
  • Creative City The improvements to the current museum will enhance understanding of the Museum’s extensive and prestigious heritage and art collections.

Work will now take place to develop the plans in detail before a final application for the remaining £12.4m is submitted to HLF in Autumn 2015.

Ted Cantle, Chair of the Nottingham Castle Trust, said: “This is an opportunity to put the castle back where it belongs - at the centre of the city - and to make it a world class attraction. The proposals to create a 'Robin and the Rebels' history gallery together with the opening up of the medieval site and caves, will attract people from all over the world and boost jobs and the local economy.”

City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Councillor Dave Trimble, said: “This is great news for the city. I’m delighted we have been able to demonstrate the huge potential we have to finally create a world-class visitor attraction at Nottingham Castle.

“This will be a landmark project for Nottingham with the additional benefit of helping to regenerate the surrounding area, bringing major investment to our city and creating and sustaining hundreds of jobs.

“It’s a once in a generation chance to transform our castle and provide a facility which all Nottingham residents can be proud of. We want to thank everyone who took part in the consultation as the feedback has really helped our plans get to this stage.”

Vanessa Harbar, Acting Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “For a millennium Nottingham Castle has played a major role in the nation’s story. It is a place that is forever linked with political rebellion, intrigue and, of course, the legend of Robin Hood. HLF’s earmarked support will kick-start plans to ensure the castle is once again at the heart of city life, giving local people and visitors an extraordinary experience.”

The plans for the Castle include:

  • Improved access and interpretation of the site’s caves including two new interpretation exhibitions on site
  • Exciting new glass lift access between the castle site and Brewhouse Yard at the foot of Castle Rock
  • Improved gatehouse entrance
  • Visitors orientation centre with café, reception and retail outlet
  • New Ducal Palace single storey courtyard extension and the re-establishment of what previously had been a double height exhibition gallery space built in 1891 when the museum first opened, to be part of the new Rebellion gallery attraction
  • Updated and improved museum
  • Improved Ducal Palace café / restaurant
  • Groundworks to the castle site with new activity zone
  • Revamped handling and collections stores in the Waterworks Building
  • Revitalised Museum of Nottingham Life with a new ground floor City of Caves story for Nottingham
  • Improved use of technology for display and interpretation to encourage greater visitor participation, including state of the art augmented reality

Notes to editors

HLF’s Heritage Grants (HG) applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

Further information

HLF press office: Katie Owen or Tom Williams on 020 7591 6036 / 6056, out of hours mobile: 07973 613 820.

Nottingham City Council: Keri Usherwood on 0115 876 3326, email: keri.usherwood@nottinghamcity.gov.uk.

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