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Castle Rock Lift, Gallery stories, Focus groups and Latest project developments

Museum wins Marsh Award, Object of the month, Heritage investment in the East Midlands

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Castle Bid

Welcome to the belated September issue of the Nottingham Castle Transformation newsletter.  Sorry its late and we have now crept into October its been a busy month!

Heres what the Project Team has been up to over the past few weeks:

  • Great news!  We have procured DBA Consulting as Activity Planners for the Project. Work can now start in earnest to prepare an activity plan rich in consultation, public interaction and outreach opportunities well be in touch with details over the coming months.
  • The internal Content Development Team has been working closely with Casson Mann, the exhibition designers, to finalise the Exhibition and Interpretation brief for the Project. The stories for individual galleries and the site as a whole have now been developed, and key objects have been identified. Over the next few months these stories will be fleshed out and object selection will be completed.  Its a really exciting and creative element of the project!
  • Weve also just held a number of fascinating Focus Groups sessions with local teachers, parents, adults, and potential visitors from London, to explore their responses to initial exhibition and interpretation plans.  Their comments were really helpful in giving different customer perspectives on the exhibition plans so far and well be using their feedback to develop the plans further.
  • The Project Team had a meeting with Historic England at the Castle earlier in September to go over the stage 2 design ideas from Purcell, the project architects.   Historic England is the public body responsible for looking after Englands historic environment, and we have to work closely with them to ensure that the proposals for Nottingham Castle meet their rigorous requirements to conserve the buildings and the site.  They gave their views on the plans this is prior to formal applications for Listed Building and Scheduled Monument consents which will be made later on during the development stage of the project.
  • A special meeting was held on site to discuss the feasibility of the proposed lift which will enable visitors to travel through the Castle Rock. The Marriott Drilling Group, based in Chesterfield, were accompanied on a site visit by representatives from Bergteamet, a specialist Swedish drilling company who are currently investigating the technology required for this proposal.  Obviously, creating a lift through the Castle Rock is very ambitious and a unique challenge, so we have international specialists to help advise us.

Castle HLF Flowchart

Derby Silk Mill

Investment in East Midlands heritage

So far, the Nottingham Castle project has secured round 1 funding from the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund).  We will submit our round 2 application in June 2016, and will hopefully then secure the full 12.98m from HLF for the project to proceed. 

This update from Jeremy Fenn at Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands shows the range of HLF investment across the East Midlands, which is providing a massive boost to the regions visitor offer and economy.

With the unprecedented scenes on the streets of Leicester for the reburying of King Richard III and Lincoln Castle reopening to coincide with Magna Cartas 800th anniversary, these last few months have truly demonstrated the interest and importance of heritage to people in the East Midlands.

Whats more, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a hat-trick of major grants to three superb new projects in May. Support for the Derby Silk Mill (pictured), Great Central Railway in Leicestershire and Lincoln Cathedral now mean that there is at least one large project in development in each county in the region.

All this means that the East Midlands is fast becoming a major heritage destination, bringing more people to the area and delivering a huge economic impact. This can only help to provide further benefits for the conservation, celebration and sustainability of the regions heritage.

We are still interested in hearing about new projects, big and small, so do get in touch with your ideas.

Jeremy Fenn, Casework Manager at Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands

Award winners

National award for Museum of Nottingham Life volunteers

Volunteers who help to bring Nottinghams history to life at Brewhouse Yard recently gained regional and national recognition for their efforts.

The regional and national Marsh Award for Museum Leaning, which recognises best practice and the innovative ways in which volunteers work in museums and galleries to engage the public, has been awarded to the Museum of Nottingham Life at Brewhouse Yard volunteers.

The aim of the Volunteers for Museum Learning award is to recognise those volunteers who work directly with museum visitors in any capacity. This could involve leading a school group, staffing an information desk, helping with family activities, running a guided tour or any number of other ways in which volunteers provide such excellent service to museum visitors.

The volunteers were judged on how their work makes a difference to their museum, how they have improved the visitor experience and also on what both the staff and the visitors from the museum had to say about them.

The volunteers travelled to London on Monday 28 September to pick up their regional award at an award event held at the British Museum, where it was announced they were also national winners.

Jo Kemp, Learning, Engagement & Collections Manager for Nottingham City Museums & Galleries, said: We are so chuffed that the hard work and dedication of the volunteers has been recognised with yet another award! And this one comes with money too; 500 for the regional award and 2,000 for the national award.  Volunteers are also playing a valuable role in the Nottingham Castle Transformation project, so please contact us if youd be interested in getting involved: call 0115 8762205 or email us at

>>Find out more about volunteering at a Nottingham City Museum

Trust website

Nottingham Castle Trust

The Nottingham Castle Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation with a remit to raise 3 million towards the 24 million project total.  All monies raised are held by an independent Charitable Trust and can only be used to support the Castle site.

If you would like to get involved with the Nottingham Castle Trust, by volunteering, donating, or sending in ideas, please contact them through the Trusts website:

Coming Out Image

Object of the month

Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry designed this embroidered Coming Out Dress for a performance that marked his emergence as a transvestite to the art world.  The piece recently featured in The Dreaming House, a temporary exhibition at Newstead Abbey, and is part of the art collection at Nottingham Castle.

The Coming Out Dress was created in 2000 with computer-aided embroidery from the Lacemarket Embroidery Company, which has since made a further three dresses for Grayson Perry using machinery that interprets his designs into embroidery stitches.  As such it represents some of the most modern elements of Nottinghams proud textile heritage. 

Grayson Perry, image by Jerry Hardman-Jones. Acquired through funds from the Contemporary Art Society Collections Scheme. 

If youd like more information about the Nottingham Castle Transformation project or would like to get involved, do please drop us a line wed love to hear from you!

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