Conservation specialists Woodhead Heritage has been awarded a £1.2million restoration project of Oakham Castle by Rutland County Council.
Oakham Castle, which is the best preserved Norman Great Hall in England, will be extensively restored thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund with additional funding provided by Rutland County Council and the Friends of Rutland County Museum & Oakham Castle.
The Castle, which receives upwards of 30,000 visitors each year, will remain closed for the duration of the project, which is due for completion in S 2016. The team from Woodhead Heritage brings a wealth of experience to the project, having recently completed the restoration of both Lincoln Castle and The National Civil War Centre in Newark.
Richard Savage will be the site manager for Woodhead Heritage, he said: “We are very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work on the Oakham Castle restoration. Projects like this ensure that we are able to preserve important historical buildings for generations to come. The work will also allow the Council to promote the history and heritage of Oakham Castle and Rutland more widely – encouraging tourism and increasing the educational value of the site.”
Councillor Roger Begy, Portfolio Holder for Culture at Rutland County Council, said: “Oakham Castle is one of Rutland’s finest heritage treasures and the work that’s being carried out aims to develop the site into a first-class cultural centre for the County. We want to conserve and consolidate the architectural features for future generations, improve access and develop the facilities there. We’re really looking forward to seeing what visitors make of the improvements when the Castle re-opens next year.”
As part of the restoration project, The Curtain Wall, will be revealed, overgrown trees and shrubs to the perimeter will be removed. Skilled craft workers will then consolidate and conserve the wall.
The Great Hall will also benefit from restoration of the lime-plaster walls, conservation of the court furnishings and improved access facilities. A new exhibition and display area and a new toilet block will be constructed. There will be new planting and a medieval garden area will be created.
There will also be improved information and promotion boards for visitors, and enhanced facilities for weddings and family events.
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