Nottingham City Council is pleased to announce today that it has received a grant of £13.9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards the Nottingham Castle Transformation Project.

Artist's impressions of the new visitor centre

Artist’s impressions of the new visitor centre

Fittingly, the congratulatory announcement from HLF will be delivered by Robin Hood after the news arrives from a messenger who will arrive at the Castle on horseback this morning around 10.30am. The news will be celebrated by a gathered group of school children from Haydn Road Primary School and characters from the Castle’s 1,000 years of history including the 1st Duke of Newcastle – William Henry Cavendish who built the present Ducal Mansion in the 1670s on the remains of the old medieval castle.

A dedicated team has worked on the proposals for the last 18 months – with detailed plans and designs submitted in July 2016 to HLF. The approval of these proposals is a major milestone for the project, which enables progression to the next stage, technical design and procurement before starting work on site. The cost of the scheme is £29.4m. This project complements Nottingham City Council’s strategic plan to develop the southern gateway of the city centre.

New galleries artist impressions
New galleries artist impressions – (Top) – Rebellion Gallery, (Bottom Left) – Lace Gallery, (Bottom Right) Alabaster Gallery

The centrepiece of the scheme will be the creation of new galleries dedicated to Robin Hood, Nottingham’s famous outlaw, and the story of rebellion in the city. Further works include restoration to the gatehouse and Palace galleries, remodelling of the landscape and grounds including an adventure play area, a new visitor centre and an improved experience of the caves and of Brewhouse Yard Cottages which are situated at the foot of the Castle rock.

Robin Hood Gallery and Caves introdution
Robin Hood Gallery and Caves introduction

The project will establish the Castle as a significant visitor destination, celebrating its unique and nationally-significant 1,000 year history with tales of power, protest and rebellion across the centuries – acknowledging also that the Castle has been a potent symbol of the city’s ambition, domination and inspiration.

Nottingham will have one of the most prominent heritage projects in the country. The wider benefits to the city are significant, including:

  • 400,000 visitors attracted in the first year
  • Additional spend in the local economy of over £90m over ten years
  • 395 jobs sustained
  • 230 construction jobs created
  • 500 volunteer placements
  • 20,000 school visits per year with events, workshops and activities to enliven the site

Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “We’re delighted with this news and very grateful that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given the scheme their vote of confidence. Securing this funding means we can push on with the next phase of the scheme. We look forward to delivering this major project which is so significant for our City, for tourism, and our economy and is a source of pride for the people of Nottingham.”

Ted Cantle, Chair of Nottingham Castle Trust said “This is great news for the project and Nottingham. It will help the Trust with fundraising for the project. We have successfully raised almost 50% of our £3m target and we will now approach a mixture of trusts and foundations, individuals and national and local companies to complete our task with the confidence that the HLF approval gives us.”

Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands said: “Nottingham Castle will forever be linked in our imaginations to the outlaw Robin Hood and his Merry Men. There are, however, many other wonderful stories that are part of its history, including political rebellion, riots and intrigue. With the help of National Lottery players, this extraordinary historic building will once more become a focal point for Nottingham.”

Notes to editors

Nottingham Castle transformation outline timetable:

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 project team has carried out further work to develop detailed plans, carrying out surveys on site, as well as consulting with visitors and stakeholders. The project should be completed by early 2020.

The funding of the project is made up of a number of sources, of which the HLF contribution is almost 50% of the total cost. The balance will be being provided through a combination of grants from the City Council and public funds as well as from Nottingham Castle Trust, formed to raise third party donations from trusts and foundations, individuals and companies. The Trust will continue to raise funds over the next three years – they have currently achieved almost 50% of their £3m target.

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.
  • Robin Hood and 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.

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