Due to be completed this year, Lincoln Castle Revealed is an ambitious multi-million pound restoration of the building that is home to the Magna Carta and dates from 1068.
It is intended that the project, being carried out for Lincolnshire Council, will be completed in time to celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary this year.
Key elements of the scheme are the refurbishment and conservation of the Georgian and Victorian Prison buildings within Lincoln Castle; the construction of a climate controlled subterranean pod to display Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest; and the construction of a Heritage Skills Centre.
These and other elements of the project are being carried out by main contractors Robert Woodhead, working alongside architects Arrol & Snell. Robert Woodhead been praised for the standard of their work on the scheme by Mary Powell, Tourism Development Manager at Lincolnshire County Council who said: “The quality of the building works by Woodhead Heritage has been a joy.”
A subterranean pod housing Magna Carta was constructed under the ground level of an old fully enclosed exercise yard within the confines of the prison building. The state-of-the-art subterranean vault, designed by Arrol & Snell in conjunction with RAA Associates Interpretation Designers, maintains environmentally-controlled conditions, keeping the documents preserved, while allowing visitors to view them together.
All materials used for the pod construction were craned into position over the prison walls, which was a particularly challenging aspect of the works.
Within the Magna Carta exhibition, a cinema auditorium to showcase films about Magna Carta was constructed and a new shop and cafe was created.
A glazed mezzanine floor has been installed in the female wing of the prison, which required integration into the existing fabric, and conservation of the prison doors has been carried out to restore them to exactly how they would have been when the prison was in use.
In addition, bird cage scaffolding was installed throughout the prison to reach the roof in order to conduct repairs to the vaulted ceiling.
The prison buildings are Grade II listed and required careful management, including liaison with archaeologists, conservation officers and Robert Woodhead’s in house specialist conservation team Woodhead Heritage to ensure the principles of good conservation are upheld.
The award winning Heritage Skills Centre is set in the historic grounds of Lincoln Castle and is the first new build within the confines of the castle for more than 100 years.
The centre is a multi functional and dynamic building which will be a focus of heritage crafts and skills development in Lincolnshire. Designed to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating the building features curved architecture which flows with the natural curve of the grass banking within the castle. The building has received award recognition from organisations including: the Charted Institute of Building; National Federation of Builders and the LABC.
Improved disabled access is also being provided, including the installation of new lifts and external landscaping work, new visitor infrastructure and ticketing facilities.
There will also be educational and learning zones within the new high profile tourist attraction, and a team of researchers are working with Lincolnshire County Council to deliver compelling exhibitions and real life stories.