Things are rapidly progressing within the £30 million transformation project at Nottingham Castle.
Now less than four months away from predicted completion, more exciting announcements have been made since external construction drew to an end and fit-out works began.
Speaking in June, the Castle's project director Richard Hamblin, of Nottingham City Council, said the pandemic had impacted the project, but believed it would still be completed by the end of the year with plans to open in 2021.
The new Castle experience aims to combine interactive, virtual technology including Robin Hood folklore alongside high-quality art exhibitions, to bring Nottingham's 1,000-year history to life.
Over the past two months, some significant progres has been made, edging the project closer to completion.
Scaffolding has been removed from the Gatehouse, showing off its restoration, which now means it is structurally secure.
Beck Interiors will be bringing their designs to life installing bespoke cases and set works into the newly-refurbished gallery spaces.
A new lighting system has been installed at the Mortimer's Hole cave to create a safe and engaging atmosphere.
And perhaps one of the most anticipated elements is the work starting on the new adventure play area by contractor S.J. Danby Ltd - Playscheme.
An update on the Castle issued in July said: "The element [the contractors] are currently working on is the ‘Sheriff’s Stronghold’ – an impressive, multi-feature play structure, modelled on our very own Gatehouse.
"It is looking amazing, and this is just one element of the adventure play area, which will span the entire length of the Castle ditch."
Installation of the play area is due to commence this month.
Live-action filming also took place in August for the Robin Hood visuals that will transport visitors virtually to the days of the Merry Men.
These performances will feature as part of the Robin Hood gallery’s immersive film experience, which merges animation with character narrator screens.
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The exhibitions and galleries are said to be emerging too, with backdrop images and plinths installed ready for art collections and objects to be added.
"The team at Nottingham City Museums and Galleries is hard at work making final preparations for the recant of the collections objects from storage back into the Castle," the August update said.
"This is obviously a massive undertaking, but also one that’s incredibly exciting. Having been in store for two years, it will be a very special moment when the objects arrive to be placed in their new cases in beautifully refurbished galleries."
As the project approached the end of the construction phase for the Nottingham Castle redevelopment, G F Tomlinson’s project manager, Richard Oldfield explained what it has meant to be involved in such an important project.
“I have studied and lived in Nottingham for most of my life so it has been a privilege to be a part of this remarkable transformation.
"It has been an interesting mix of archaeology, heritage restoration and complete modernisation on a site which is both a National Monument and Grade I listed.
"Everyone working on the project feels we have been a little part of the 1,000-year history of the site. The majority of those working on the project are local and recall visiting the site as children or during the beer festival, now, with the start of the fit-out stage, we are all looking forward to the opening so we can return to view the complete project with friends and families.
"However, as excited as we are to see the completion of the Castle Transformation it is also sad to say goodbye to the team who made it possible; the client and stakeholders, the project management and design team, Historic England and the city’s Heritage and Archaeological officers have all worked so well together.
"Without this team effort, we would not have been able to overcome a number of challenges we have encountered ranging from the technical to the financial to the latest issues relating to COVID 19. We all look forward to the official re-opening in 2021."
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