Castle Bid

January 2017

Welcome to the latest Castle Transformation Newsletter

Welcome to our round up of contents for January.

This issue features:

– Project update
– Come and visit on Light Night
– Up on the roof at Brewhouse Yard
– Scott’s column – Caves stories with Scott Lomax
– The day Bob Dylan visited the Castle
– Object of the month – Tapestry map

Newsletter montage

Project update – January

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2017. Just about to embark on February, here’s what January brought for the project:

Start up meeting with HLF – Earlier this month the project’s official Start Up meeting with the Heritage Lottery Fund took place. This marks the beginning of the Delivery Phase of the Nottingham Castle Transformation project! Over the next few weeks permission to start will be formally granted on the completion of appropriate paperwork and then it’s all systems go!

Brewhouse surveying – January has seen students from Nottingham Trent University’s Building Surveying Course return to site. As part of their annual programme students are currently scanning the Waterworks Building at Brewhouse Yard to gain live site experience on historic buildings. The data they collect can also feed into the project, providing us with useful information about our buildings. It is planned for this partnership to last for the duration of the transformation project.

Volunteers looking at new projects – Our volunteers have been very busy this month and have branched out to cover new subject areas for project research. One volunteer is now working with the Robin Hood content development team on research into Sherwood Forest, and our newest volunteer has been tasked with researching previous interiors at Brewhouse Yard museum. As ever, we are incredibly grateful for the support given by our volunteers and look forward to being able to offer more opportunities as the project progresses.

Activity plan, coming soon – As our Activity Plan launches in April we have been busy planning and resourcing all of the 87(!) projects featured. The aim of the activity plan is to involve local people in the project as much as we can, via project communications, community projects, temporary exhibitions, special events and launch activities. The Plan also covers public events on opening and the education and engagement programme for the site. Watch this space for future updates.

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Light Night

Light Night at Nottingham Castle

Friday 10 February 2017
6-9pm (last entry 8pm)

Bring the whole family to Nottingham Castle, where entry will be FREE. The grounds will be illuminated and you can try your hands at glow in the dark tennis, as well as archery, basketball and football. Come and soak up the party-like carnival atmosphere!

Experience the art installations in the Castle grounds by artist Andy McKeown. In the Castle bandstand, Light Rain promises 50 brightly coloured umbrellas suspended and illuminated by constantly falling rain to the sound of a traditional music box.

Brewhouse Yard will also be offering FREE entry on the night and there will be exciting activities taking place across the city. Last year over 18,000 people visited Nottingham Castle and Brewhouse Yard alone.

Read more about Light Night

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BHY caves

Scott’s Findings

City Archaeologist, Scott Lomax is back for the New Year with his eleventh column. This month, he explores caves in wartime.

“75 years ago caves at Nottingham Castle were specially modified to help defend the citizens of Nottingham from falling bombs.

In May 1941 the German Luftwaffe carried out an air attack on the city in which 159 people were killed during an intensive bombing campaign.”

Campion’s suggestions – “The amateur archaeologist George Campion who excavated caves across the city and has been mentioned in previous newsletters, suggested at this time that an underground city should be created, big enough for the whole population, so the city’s residents could live and work in safety for the duration of the war.”

Caves as shelters – “The authorities chose not to follow Campion’s suggestion but during 1941 and 1942 the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) did record all rock-cut caves being used as shelters, and made changes to a number of other caves to make them suitable as shelters during air raids. Often carved deep into the ground, these man-made chambers provided protection, in some cases for thousands of people.”

Cosmic Ray Cave (pictured above) “The caves cut into the Rock beneath Nottingham Castle were among those modified for this purpose. Caves at Brewhouse Yard were intended to be used by staff at the Waterworks Company, and the cave known as the Cosmic Ray Cave was used as a Emergency Administrative Office for the Air Raid Precautions (ARP). Office facilities were installed, as were emergency phone lines. A number of bunk beds provided somewhere for the staff and volunteers to rest.”

Sleeping room only – “New caves were also hewn into the Castle Rock during the war, probably in 1942, to provide sleeping accommodation for the ARP, with 132 bunk beds. Emergency equipment was held here so that it was on hand in case of bombs causing destruction within the city.

Being centrally located, and protected within the base of the 30m high Castle Rock, the caves here were among the most suitable for emergency workers to be based.”

Visit the caves in question – “At the Museum of Nottingham Life, at Brewhouse Yard, visitors can still see and explore some of the caves that were used as air raid shelters. Others exist beneath private properties and pubs, and some unfortunately no longer exist or are inaccessible.

A cave was recently rediscovered just outside the city centre, revealed for the first time in decades. The cave was created in the 18th or 19th century as a pub cellar but was modified in the Second World War so it could be used as an air raid shelter for up to 50 people. Corrugated iron, put in place to strengthen the cave, is still there.

Nottingham’s caves represent important parts of the city’s history from the medieval period through to the modern day and they have important stories to tell.”

Cave stories – get in touch – If anyone has any recollections of having sheltered in any of Nottingham’s caves during the Second World War, or has any stories they have been told by friends or relatives about the use of caves in the Second World War, or even during Zeppelin raids in the First World War, please get in touch.
You can contact Scott at:  

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Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan’s 1966 visit – A detective story

It turns out that Nobel Prize Winner Bob Dylan made a visit to the Castle in the Sixties. Read about how our team helped researcher Marie Fontini put the pieces together from a photograph of the singer spotted in Barry Feinstein’s book REAL MOMENTS which consists of many pictures of Dylan during his 1966 European tour.

Perhaps he will visit again when his tour reaches
Nottingham on May 5

Read more about the project

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Tapestry maps

Object of the month

What is it?
We have selected our ‘Tapestry Maps of North and South Nottinghamshire’ as January’s Object of the Month.

Why are they significant?
These large tapestries were based on Christopher Saxton’s map of Nottinghamshire in 1576 and John Speed’s map of 1616. They give a detailed representation of the landscape and architecture of the county before the English Civil War.

Tell me more
The maps depict North and South Nottinghamshire respectively. They were commissioned by Mistress Mary Eyre of Rampton and Grove. The tapestry of the North bears an inscription “At Rampton made wee were by Mistress Mary Eyre” and is dated 1632.

The panels are woven in multi-coloured wool on linen warps (vertical threads) and were made by a well-known Flemish tapestry making family, the Hyckes, who worked for the Sheldon Family tapestry weaving business based at Barcheston in Warwickshire. The looms would have been set up at Rampton and the tapestries made there.

In our opinion
“These map tapestries of Nottinghamshire are not only huge; they are extremely attractive and endlessly fascinating offering a bird’s eye view of early 17th century Nottinghamshire. The detail is astounding, with virtually every settlement in Nottinghamshire represented by buildings and landmarks. Market towns are shown with red crosses, there are beacons, a water mill, deer, waterways – but no roads – and even gallows just north of Nottingham.” (Judith Edgar, Curator of Lace, Costume and Textiles Collection)

The Tapestry Maps will feature in the new Rebellion Gallery currently being designed by exhibition designers Casson Mann.

To learn more about tapestries please visit these web links:
Sheldon business at Barcheston on Wikipedia.
The Bodleian Museum

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On the roof

Up on the roof

The team recently went on a high level visit to inspect some of the restoration work being undertaken by the team from Nottingham City Homes to restore and repair brickwork at Brewhouse Yard Museum and Rock Cottage.

The team met the site manager to inspect new pointing and roof repairs at close quarters. Some of the work on the cottages is already complete and the images below really show the difference. Further work over the next few weeks will include repairs to the windows and guttering as well as decoration to doors and frames.

It is great to see Brewhouse Yard looking so good, even more so as plans for the design and interpretation of the interior are also progressing rapidly.

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This project is supported by:

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