What now Robin Hood?

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Nottingham Castle. And no Robin Hood in sight!

Nottingham Castle. And no Robin Hood in sight!

Robin Hood might be spinning in his grave now – if he had a grave – because Nottingham castle has received nearly £13 million to redevelop the site. It might make it even more difficult to storm the castle and rescue Maid Marion or one of his merry men.

The money is amongst the latest round of funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund for upgrades and improvements. £72 million has been given to six sites – all of which receive over £5 million but there are some other locations that have received smaller sums as well.

If Nottingham Castle means one thing then it is Robin Hood fighting the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and standing for the common man against oppression. The money from the Fund will help ensure the castle’s heritage is brought to life as well as opening up a unique set of caves beneath the site. The Castle Museum and Art Gallery will be redeveloped to tell the Nottingham both fictional and factual be it merry men, lacemaking or its industrial heritage.

Bath is almost over-burdened with visitor attractions. One – Bath Abbey – receives over half a million visitors a year but that can take its toll. Urgent conservation work to the abbey’s floor and improved entrances as needed and £10.4 million will help that work to be achieved. At the same time, new underground facilities for visitors such as learning spaces and a refectory and training kitchen will be built  which will help 400 volunteers (a combination of existing and new ones) to learn skills involving conservation and traditional crafts to customer service and catering.

In county Durham, the open-air museum at Beamish is also a big tourist attraction. It receives £10.7 million for a substantial makeover so that the museum can tell the story of time periods in living memory, whilst also creating new jobs and opportunities for skills training. A range of immersive exhibits looking specifically at the 1820s and 1950s will be built, including a 1950s town and farm and a Georgian coaching inn, which will offer overnight stays. There will be 50 four- year apprenticeships and a pioneering, dedicated activities space for people with living with dementia – ‘Homes for Memory’ – the first of its kind in a museum within the UK.

What word conjures up summer holidays better than Blackpool? 13 million of us visit town forever synonymous with the phrase “seaside resort” every year. The creation of Blackpool Museum  (strange to think that there hasn’t been one) in the Pavilion Theatre of the Winter Gardens will be designed as a flagship visitor attraction. Sounds like a future contender for the Art Fund’s £100,000  Museum of the Year prize!

Canterbury Cathedral is a substantial domestic and overseas tourist attraction as it is one of the most significant centres of western Christianity. £11.9 million will help conserve the site and provide a new visitor centre which will transform how the cathedral welcomes people across the faith spectrum and will tell the story of a religious site which has stood the test of time over an extraordinary millennium’s worth of history. Four stonemasonry apprenticeships will additionally enable craftspeople to pass on their expertise and a range of workshops will help engage young people, particularly those who are currently not in training or employment.

Beamish Museum in Co. Durham

Beamish Museum in Co. Durham

Plymouth’s maritime history is well-known whether it be Francis Drake, exploring the world, the departure of the Mayflower to North America or its epic naval and D-Day links. It receives £12.8 million towards developing a new History Centre in Plymouth  which will combine the assets of the city into one location.

To many outside Wales, the name Hedd Wynn won’t be known. He was one of the World War One poets who lost his life but whose poetry ensures that we remember the conflict which has so much meaning this centenary year. £2.8 million goes to the Snowdonia National Park Authority to help conserve his Grade II* listed home, Yr Ysgwrn, which inspired so much of his work, as well as safeguarding his collections.


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