Work to establish Nottingham Castle as a world class heritage destination takes a major step forward today with the announcement of Purcell UK as the project architects and Casson Mann as the exhibition designers.

These specialist suppliers will now commence work on finalising the detailed plans that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) requires before assessing the application for a final award of £12.9 million confirmed funding towards the £24 million project.

The transformation of Nottingham Castle will include a new Rebellion Gallery where Robin Hood will take visitors on a journey through the Gallery, exploring the history of rebellion, social protest and freedom in the city.

The project will also open up access to the unique cave network at the Castle, enabling visitors to travel through the Castle caves, hear their medieval story, and ride in a lift from the foot of Castle Rock. In addition, a brand-new visitor centre will provide a much stronger welcome, helping to orientate visitors around the fascinating 1000 years of history on the site.

Purcell UK will lead on work to alter and extend the museum and gallery buildings at the Castle, complying with strict English Heritage guidelines on conservation of this Grade 1 listed building.

Casson Mann will be designing the exhibition displays, including the new Rebellion Gallery, and the museum’s existing internationally significant collections, using interactive installations to engage and delight visitors.

The two key appointments have been approved today following a European Union compliant tender process. Each of the chosen companies has an enviable track record of successfully delivering major projects.

Purcell UK is a leading architectural practice, renowned for restoration work on listed buildings as well as new build designs. The practice has previously completed high profile projects at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Tower Bridge in London, Wentworth Castle in Barnsley, CoRe in Stoke-on-Trent, Dover Castle, as well as our own Wollaton Hall in Nottingham. Purcell UK has a long legacy of working on many important houses, castles and museums, and is currently leading major projects at Auckland Castle in County Durham and Cardigan Castle in Wales.

Purcell has been working in the East Midlands for many years and recently relocated to a new studio in Nottingham’s Lace Market.

Casson Mann has a history of developing high profile and engaging exhibitions that have proved extremely popular with visitors. Recent projects have included “Nelson, Navy, Nation” at the National Maritime Museum, the Treasures Gallery at the Natural History Museum and the “Who Am I?” exhibit at the British Science Museum.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War the Imperial War Museum chose Casson Mann to redevelop and reimagine their 1WW exhibition. The completed gallery focussed on authentic human stories of the war told in a visceral, emotive and intimate way. It attracted over 623,000 visitors between February and December in 2014.

Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dave Trimble, said: “The announcement today marks a major step forward to securing the funding needed to transform Nottingham Castle into a world class heritage site of national and global significance. Purcell UK and Casson Mann have been selected as partners because of the skills and considerable wealth of experience they bring to the project. Both organisations have an outstanding track record of delivering internationally significant heritage projects.

Our goal is to see Nottingham Castle once again become the pride of the city, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year and offering them an unforgettable experience as the Castle’s 1000 year history and the caves it stands on are brought to life.”

Heather Mayfield, Chief Executive of Nottingham Castle Trust, said: “We’re delighted with the appointment of Purcell UK and Casson Mann which demonstrates the ambition of the Nottingham Castle project. Now that we have an architect and exhibition designer on board, we can begin to articulate a more comprehensive vision for the Castle which will help support our fundraising target of raising £3m.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “We welcome the appointment of this professional team to carry out work on the first stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund supported project. It’s a significant milestone and we look forward to seeing how they develop plans to transform Nottingham Castle and help tell more of its important story.”

Nottingham City Council offer a Stay Connected email newsletter specifically on the ongoing Castle transformation project. So far over 1000 citizens have signed up. If you would like to get free updates in your email you can sign up at or use the form at the top of any council webpage.


More information on this story is available from Paul Burns, Marketing and Communications Office, Nottingham City Council or 0115 876 3352

Notes to Editors

About The Heritage Lottery Fund
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. @heritagelottery

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.This approval was given to the Castle project in May 2014). 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.

The next and final stage of the HLF bid for Nottingham Castle will be submitted in summer 2016. If HLF approval is given, work will start at the Castle in autumn 2016. Visitors will be able to enjoy the newly transformed Castle from 2020.

About Nottingham Castle Trust
Nottingham Castle Trust is raising £3m in funding for the redevelopment of Nottingham Castle. The Trust is appealing to individuals, charitable trusts and the business community for support. If you wish to find out more about the fundraising appeal or are interested in making a donation towards it, please contact Nottingham Castle Trust by telephone 0115 8761450, email or visit

About Purcell UK; Project Architects
Key Purcell UK projects mentioned
Wollaton Hall, Nottingham
Designed by Smythson in 1580-1588, Wollaton Hall is a spectacular example of English Renaissance architecture and a much-loved local landmark. Purcell led a major programme of works to improve visitor access to the Hall, which is home to Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, and to re-present the historic interiors.

Wentworth Castle, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
Purcell oversaw the conservation, repair and restoration of the estate’s long neglected buildings and parkland. The Heritage Lottery Fund project comprised major fabric repairs to the façade and roof of Wentworth Castle; the provision of a visitor centre and student accommodation within the restored Home Farm; and the restoration of the gardens, parkland and their monuments.

CoRE (Centre of Refurbishment Excellence), Stoke-on-Trent
Purcell let the conversion of the Grade II listed Enson Works pottery factory into a national centre of excellence for low energy building retrofit, conference venue, exhibition zone for innovative products in the retrofit market and a construction training college. The factory building, including its distinctive kilns, and former America Hotel were repaired and refurbished using like-for-like materials, while a new build hub has brought the existing buildings together as one landmark facility.

Dover Castle, Kent
The practice led a project to re-present the Great Tower at Dover Castle, creating interiors to evoke the character of the Tower during the reign of Henry II. The complex scheme involved an introductory exhibition, the incorporation of Pepper’s Ghosts technology (an illusionary technique used in theatre) and the fabrication of a significant number of artefacts including furniture, textiles and paintings on canvas.

Sammy Ofer Wing, National Maritime Museum Greenwich
Purcell was the executive architect responsible for delivering the new Sammy Ofer Wing, a multi-million pound extension to the National Maritime Museum. The scheme provided new public facilities, a special exhibition gallery and created a dramatic new entrance onto Greenwich Park.

Tower Bridge, London
Purcell recently completed a high profile refurbishment project within this iconic Grade I listed bridge. Two new glass floors were carefully integrated within the bridges high-level walkways, giving visitors the opportunity to view the bridge and the lifting process from a new perspective. The original steel lattice structure of the bridge was conserved under glass panels.

Cardigan Castle, Ceredigion
Cardigan Castle is one of the first masonry fortifications in Wales and was the setting for the first recorded Eisteddfod in 1176. The castle had become increasingly derelict over the years, its walls needing steel stanchions to prevent their collapse and its buildings becoming roofless ruins despite their Scheduled Ancient Monument and listed status. Purcell is leading this important site’s transformation as a heritage attraction and education centre which is due to open in spring 2015.

Auckland Castle, County Durham
Purcell is leading the £17m redevelopment of Auckland Castle in County Durham. Home to the Bishops of Durham for more than 800 years, significant rooms within the Grade I listed castle are being restored to house a new exhibition and a contemporary, two-storey exhibition space will be built on to the castle’s 16th century Scotland Wing.

About Purcell
The practice works as one family of many experts: architects, designers, heritage leaders, and specialist consultants. Ideally placed in key regions covering the UK and Asia Pacific, the practice undertakes projects largely in eight sectors. Complex scenarios involving historic sites, heritage buildings, admired places and their transformation, and building new structures and spaces. Purcell UK has been practising for seven decades making sure clients’ buildings are designed for use today and for future generations.      @Purcelluk

Press contact: Cristie Hammond, PR  Manager

Tel: 020 7397 7171

Casson Mann – First World War galleries

Here are some highlights of the outcome relating to the Imperial War Museum’s First World War galleries project (to 31 Dec 2014):

  • There have been 903,000 visitors to the museum as a whole with 69% (623,000) visiting the First World War Galleries. Visitor numbers are 38% above the museum target and 96% higher than our best ever year (2011). 450,000 people had never visited the museum before and 76% of these visited the First World War Galleries
  • Occupying 1060m2 (almost twice than before), the Galleries showcase 1,300 objects from IWM’s collections ranging from large weapons to intensely personal items like letters and diaries. Hundreds more are included in over 60 AV displays and interactives.
  • 89% of visitors rated the Galleries as excellent or good. They are delighted by the overall design and delivery of the Galleries’ and the evocative atmosphere.   Visitors praised the variety of interpretative options and the way these engaged a broad audience, from children to experts. The inclusion of archive film was particularly popular. Families responded well to the immersive and interactive elements.
  • A record breaking 300+ journalists attended the press launch, with the campaign generating the most coverage in IWM London’s history reaching over 413 million. Ben Macintyre in The Times said that “this is the war museum to end all war museums”, whilst other papers described the new Galleries as “spectacular” (The Guardian), “overwhelming” (The Mirror), “a triumph” (The Times), “brilliant” (The Express) “stunning” and “a glorious tribute in this centenary year” The Daily Mail.

Casson Mann Designers, 45 Mitchell Street, London EC1V 3QD
T: 020 7324 1964
F: 020 7251 6238
E: or Project leader – Craig Riley

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