Castle Bid

October 2016

Welcome to October News

Nottingham Castle Transformation Newsletter

Here’s what the project team has been up to in the past month:

October news header

This month, we feature:

  • HLF Visit takes place
  • Early day motion in Parliament
  • Chinese visitors
  • Object of the month – leather panel
  • Nottingham in Parliament
  • Scott and Festival of Caves

Images (clockwise) – Robin takes Chinese delegation on a cave tour, Programme Manager Cal Warren speaks at Caves Festival, Brewhouse characters in 1000 years of history, Robin and the Sheriff take a trip on the London Tube, the Castle is lit up for Nottingham in Parliament Day


October has been a hugely busy time for the Nottingham Castle Project.

HLF Visit – The month started with the eagerly anticipated visit from HLF, where we were able to visualise and demonstrate our plans for the Castle. This was really exciting for all involved and a massive team effort.

Caves Festival – We were also happy to be part of the Nottingham Caves Festival, which proved to be an interesting and diverse event, right in the centre of Nottingham.

Nottingham in Parliament Day – And of course… 25 October was Nottingham in Parliament Day! We were incredibly excited to hear that Nottingham’s visitor economy, with the regeneration of the Castle at its core, was the subject of an early day motion tabled in the House of Commons.

Read on for more information and to see what’s been happening! 

Visit composite

The HLF visit takes place!

The final visit from the panel at the Heritage Lottery Fund took place on 5 October.

This was the last opportunity for the team to demonstrate the proposed improvements and to bring alive how the experience might be for visitors in 2020.

The group was treated to some virtual reality caving, got to see Lucy Hutchinson’s diary at close quarters and met the characters from 1000 years of history at the Castle. The start of the tour gave them a chance to meet some of the inhabitants at Brewhouse Yard where they looked round the cottages and found out more about how the characters would have lived across different periods.

We’re expecting a decision from the HLF on our funding very soon. Newsletter subscribers will be among the first to know when there is any news on our bid.

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NIP tim

Transformation is an early day motion in parliament

Early day motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons.

The Castle Transformation project was submitted as an EDM as part of Nottingham in Parliament Day on 25 October by Lillian Greenwood MP

The Motion
Regenerating Nottingham Castle and the Nottinghamshire visitor economy

This House notes that tourism is a key economic driver for Nottinghamshire, creating £1.6 billion in income and generating over 21,000 jobs; further notes that tourism, and the wider visitor economy, has a significant impact on the county’s economy with further potential to deliver growth in the Midlands Engine region; welcomes the work of the Local Enterprise Partnership, businesses (including the Nottingham BID) and councils to further develop the visitor economy, including as part of the Nottingham in Parliament Day on 25 October led by The University of Nottingham; further welcomes plans to revitalise Nottingham Castle to help bring alive its extraordinary history and significant role in the history of England; and supports all those partners working to make those plans happen.

Lilian Greenwood MP
Chris Leslie MP
Vernon Coaker MP
Graham Allen MP
Gloria de Piero MP
Alan Meale MP

You can see the motion (585) and the signatures of support gained at the website

Read more about Nottingham in Parliament Day below

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Tim and Jeremy

Nottingham in Parliament Day (NIPD)

Nottingham Castle is the only place other than Westminster, where Parliament can sit. It was fitting that the Castle Transformation Project was well represented on this groundbreaking day in Westminster.

Robin got to meet a few interesting characters during the day (image left)

From the Nottingham University NIPD blog…

By staging Nottingham in Parliament Day, Nottingham has blazed a trail for others to follow, according to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

John Bercow MP was full of praise for Nottingham in Parliament Day, a one-day takeover of Westminster by more than 100 organisations from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

“Nottingham has shown itself to be a leader,” Mr Bercow said at the event on October 25. “And where you have led, others may now follow.”

The day saw more than 2,500 guests gather at 45 events across Parliament, celebrating all that is great about Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

With large and small companies involved alongside charities, public bodies, arts organisations, sports teams and celebrities, Nottingham in Parliament Day was an unprecedented exercise in co-operation intended to raise Nottingham’s profile in the corridors of power.

Chinese and ADA

Chinese visitors

The top 20 leading tour operators from China came to visit Nottingham Castle on the morning of Wednesday 19 October, making time to see this site in particular as part of a packed schedule across the country.

Cal Warren, Programme Manager talked to the delegation about the transformation plans for the Castle, and they were lucky enough to meet our own outlaw and take a cave tour. The group is pictured here with the ADA installation in the Long Gallery.

The trip was a joint venture with Marketing Manchester and Experience Nottinghamshire alongside Visit Britain and Hainan Airlines. This was a great opportunity to showcase the Castle to some leading tour operators and we look forward to seeing them back on the transformed site.

Leather panel

Object of the Month – 1831 leather panels

What is it? – “The 1831 Leather Panels” are fragments of wall coverings from the State Apartments of the Ducal Palace.

Why are they significant? – The Palace was constructed by the First and Second Dukes of Newcastle between 1674 and 1679 on the Nottingham Castle site. The interior was badly damaged in 1831, but these panels help to give an impression of its previous grandeur. Gilt leather hangings were as desirable as tapestries for wall coverings in grand houses.

Tell me more – The Palace was set on fire by rioters on the evening of Monday 10 October 1831 after the Fourth Duke voted against the Reform Bill in Parliament. The blaze lasted all night, filling the surrounding area with the scent of cedar as furniture and wall panelling burned. Items looted from the Castle were sold on the streets of Nottingham for no more than a few shillings each. It is the fact that these looted items were stolen and sold on that means this item is available for people to see today. They would have otherwise perished.

In our opinion – These fragments of Spanish or gilt (gold and silver) leather wall hangings were once part of a sumptuous set of wall coverings from the Ballroom (Long Gallery) and Breakfast Room at Nottingham Castle. The panels, which are of very high quality, are likely to have originated from Flanders or Italy. Dr Richard Gaunt – Curator of Rebellion

The panels were donated to the museum collection by a Miss Cullen in 1893.

You can find “The 1831 Leather Panels” on display at the museum in the Riot 1831 gallery.

Cal talk

Transformation at Festival of Caves

Programme Manager Cal Warren gave a talk at the Festival of Caves, updating people on the transformation and what this might mean for the structures below the Castle.

She explained how research and focus groups, particularly those in London showed surprise that the site housed such a wealth of caves. She described the astonishment that this man made asset wasn’t well known and assured people the caves are key to tourism. Scott’s piece below mentions some of this area of work.

She showed computer generated images (CGI) for how the site might look after transformation in 2020. Describing the view from the gatehouse with a visitor centre alongside, with landscaping that will show off the palace with an aim to return to a medieval layout.

She discussed excavation plans (which Scott mentioned in his September feature) and the new proposed play space in the Castle ditch which will preserve archaeology but be fun for families. The aim is to make children feel they have assailed the Castle.

The plans were extremely well received.

CGI 2020 image
CGI of potential look of Castle grounds in 2020

Scott on Brewhouse tour

Scott’s facts and findings

Welcome to Scott’s tenth column. In this edition, he discusses the recent Festival of Caves…

“During the festival, organised by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, I was proud to be part of this showcase of the city’s unique man made cave systems which lie beneath much of Nottingham.”

New caves? – “The festival gave me the opportunity to talk to lots of people and I learned a lot about some of the city’s caves, by hearing tales of how they had been used over the years. A number of people also gave me information about possible caves of which the City Council has no record. In the coming weeks, I will be investigating these and I expect the number of known caves to rise.”

The caves we know – “There are approximately 700 known caves recorded by Nottingham City Council, 24 of which have only been identified since 1 July. Of these, approximately 500 are within the city centre. In fact, every street in the city centre has caves beneath.”

The city’s caves are an amazing feature of Nottingham’s heritage. Many of them date to the medieval period, although some are more recent. Indeed a few date to as recently as the 1960s. They give a great insight into the development of the city and have been part of Nottingham’s identity since a Welsh monk named Asser described Nottingham as ‘place of caves’ in the year 893.”

Uses for caves – “Some of the most common functions of Nottingham’s caves include: storage cellars, including beer cellars (most pubs in the city centre have caves beneath because the caves provide a consistently cool temperature all year round, making them ideal for storing beer); tunnels/passages; malt kilns; tanneries; stables; sand mines; follies; air raid shelters.”

Unseen opportunities – “Some caves not usually open to the public were visited during the festival. These included the Ducal Wine Cellar at Nottingham Castle and a cave known as the Cosmic Ray Cave at Brewhouse Yard. If Nottingham City Council is successful in its application for Heritage Lottery Funding these caves, and other caves at the Castle, will be opened up to the public more regularly.

During tours I gave of caves at Brewhouse Yard it was great to see so many people interested in what are quite extensive caves. Many of the people had never been in a cave before, and some did not realise these caves existed, and all appeared to enjoy the experience of walking through hundreds of years of the city’s history.

With this year’s event proving so popular hopefully the festival will be an annual event for many years to come.”


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