The Nottingham Castle landmark has closed despite Purcell’s £30m overhaul

The charity behind the East Midlands visitor attraction summoned the liquidators this week after a £30m conservation and redevelopment project failed to turn around its fortunes.

Nottingham Castle was built on the site of a Norman castle that was almost completely demolished in the mid-17th centuryThe tenth century. A ducal palace replaced it but rioters burned it down in 1831 before it was restored and refurbished in the 1870s to house an art gallery and museum.

The attraction closed in 2018 due to Purcell’s reform, who created a new visitor center with a café and shop as well as a medieval adventure playground.

The former Textiles Gallery has been restored to its original form and transformed into the Rebellion Gallery, allowing visitors to relive three of Nottingham’s bloodiest episodes.

Purcell also repaired the castle’s facade and carried out restoration work on the gate and bridge. Improved lighting has been installed to make the caverns below the castle more visible, accessible, and dramatic.

Former Citadel chief executive Sarah Blair Manning described the repair as “incredible” when it was completed in June 2021.

She said at the time: ‘Purcell has restored the 17th-century ducal palace, as well as the historic gatehouse and grottoes, making them more accessible than ever – something so important to the Nottingham Castle Trust’.

However, the trust said in a statement this week: ‘We are sad to announce that the Nottingham Castle Trust has commenced the process of appointing liquidators and the castle grounds and galleries will remain closed to all visitors until further notice.

We would like to thank all of the castle’s supporters, including the thousands of visitors who have passed through our gates. Finally, a big thank you to the staff and volunteers who make Nottingham Castle such a great place to visit. ‘

Nottingham City Council’s Leisure, Culture and Planning portfolio holder expressed “huge disappointment” at the site’s closure. He added that the castle would be returned to the local authority.

“The council’s immediate priority is to work with the appointed liquidators to support those staff at the Citadel who have been affected by this sad news, and to protect the site and its collections while it is out of business,” Koutsonis said.

We appreciate the great efforts of the Fund’s staff on site and understand how devastated they may be by this news.

We will reopen the castle as soon as possible. Once we have a clearer picture of the liquidators, we will explore all options available with our key partners the National Lottery Heritage Trust, Arts Council England and others to develop a new business model.

There is a genuine commitment from all parties to seeing this important cultural asset realize its full potential for the city and wider region as a successful visitor attraction, and plays a key role in our wider plans to bring investment, jobs, visitors and growth to Nottingham and its people.

Purcell said he was “saddened” by the castle’s closure.

A spokesperson for the practice said: “The castle and its collections are of great historical and cultural importance and have always been a foundation for Nottingham’s history.” “We hope to see the site reopened to the public to continue enjoying the castle and grounds as soon as possible.”

Nottingham Castle after its reopening

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