The Nottingham Castle Transformation project took a significant step forward this month with the submission of the round two funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

If secured, this funding will play a huge part toward establishing the site as a world-class visitor destination, celebrating its unique and nationally-significant 1,000 year history with tales of power, protest and rebellion across the centuries. It forms a critical part of Nottingham City Council’s plans to develop the city centre.

An economic impact assessment has estimated that the project will generate an additional £90m of visitor spend in the local economy over 10 years, will create and sustain over 3,700 additional jobs through visitor spend, and generate a potential total visitor spend of £202m over a 10 year period.

The Castle site has 9.5 million people living in a 90 minute drive time catchment as well as potential for increased international tourists visiting the city due to the improved transport infrastructure.

The application comprises 21 separate documents, which will be assessed by a panel and information will be reinforced and clarified with a site visit from HLF in a month or so.

This project will revitalise Nottingham Castle for visitors and the people of Nottingham, telling the Castle’s story and its role in the birth of social and democratic ideas. Celebrating Nottingham Castle’s diverse 1,000 year heritage, it will capture the drama of the Castle site; increasing access to the unique caves and restoring dramatic gallery space providing exceptional exhibitions of the city’s world class collections.

The project is focused around three themes:

  • Exploring 1,000 years of history: inviting visitors to enjoy the Castle landscape, discover the unique caves, the site and its medieval remains and the charm of the Brewhouse Yard Cottages.
  • Rebellion: Focusing on Nottingham’s history of dissension, revolt and rebellion and our iconic outlaw, Robin Hood.
  • The Power of Art and Making: Highlighting the museum’s founding principles and the extraordinary creativity of a city home to craft and industry of various kinds.

A funding decision from the HLF is expected in November this year. Work is anticipated to begin on site in 2017.

To celebrate the submission of the bid, the project team gathered figures representing the thousand years of history on the site. These figures were played by local historical groups – The Household and A Touch of History, Nottingham City Council staff and by the team that has been responsible for compiling and submitting the bid.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “Congratulations to the project team on completing this massive task. I am confident we have created a series of clear, comprehensive and very exciting plans for a project which can potentially bring the site alive, tell the key stories and legends and capture the imagination of many thousands of visitors in the years to come.”


1000 years of historyThe figures featured (Chronologically down the steps)

William the Conqueror… Ordered the building of the very first wooden Castle structure in 1067, the year after the Battle of Hastings

Matilda of FlandersWife of William the Conqueror and, as such, Queen of England who bore William nine or ten children who survived to adulthood, including two kings, William II and Henry I.

Robin Hood… Nottingham’s heroic outlaw, famous for “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor”

Sheriff of Nottingham… (Cllr Jackie Morris) An ambassador for Nottingham’s historic associations and links with the legend of Robin Hood.

Sheriff of Nottingham… Always on hand to try and catch Robin Hood and his band and bring them to justice.

Friar Tuck… Depicted as a jovial friar and one of Robin’s Merry Men. Tuck is found in ballads from as far back as the 17th century

Colonel Hutchinson… A roundhead governor of Nottingham during the English Civil War. In 1649 he applied to parliament to have the castle demolished to prevent it being used again in war.

Lucy Hutchinson… Wrote Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, a biography of her husband.

1st Duke of Newcastle – William Henry Cavendish…Who built the present Ducal Mansion between 1674 and 1679. It was erected on the foundations of the previous building.

William Elliott – first recorded as a stocking trimmer living at Brewhouse Yard in 1732, the inventor of superior black cloth dye. This gave him practically all the dyeing business in Nottingham and Leicester and made him one of the richest men in Nottingham. 

4th Duke of Newcastle – Henry Pelham-Clinton – Opposed to electoral reform which led to attacks on his property during the Reform Bill Riots of 1831 and Nottingham Castle being burnt to the ground

George Henry Wallace – 1st Museum Director… In charge on 3 July 1878 when the remodelled Ducal Palace was opened to the public as a Museum of Fine Art.

Present Day family… The Hallam family – Looking forward to Nottingham Castle being transformed into a world-class heritage destination and discovering a thousand years of history

Notes for editors

Nottingham Castle transformation project funding and outline timetable:

The required £24 million to complete the transformation will come from the following sources with the majority being from the Heritage Lottery Fund, subject to final approval later this year:

  • Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – £13m
  • Nottingham City Council – £5.5m
  • Fundraising via Nottingham Castle Trust – £3m
  • Regeneration and other public funds – £2.5m

Work on this project has been underway since 2013 when Nottingham City Council submitted a successful bid to the HLF to start work on plans for transforming the site. Since then, a team of professionals has been appointed to develop the plans, as well as to consult with visitors and stakeholders.

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

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