Recently Conservative run Tamworth Borough Council gave us a great insight into the works currently taking place to get Tamworth Castle not only ready for reopening but also presenting and exciting new offer.
New interactive Anglo-Saxon gallery
Building works are complete in Tamworth Castle for an exciting new ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition that has transformed the top floor of the castle to an Anglo-Saxon, interactive tribute.
The £768,000 ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition, including the creation of a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience and a unique touch-table strategy game, is in its last stages of creation, with the final touches nearly complete. This will include hosting pieces of the legendary Staffordshire Hoard to display, alongside other Anglo-Saxon artefacts.
The exhibition will bring the area’s rich Anglo-Saxon history to life, including the role of our famous warrior queen, Aethelflaed. It will also explore many exciting aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard, including themes of battle, kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.
The top floor of the ancient castle has been completely altered and improved, including the upgrading of infrastructure, a new ceiling and lighting, as well as conservation repairs to walls and windows. This has made way for the final installation of a brand new exhibition.
The interpretation elements of the exhibition are being completed by following Covid-19 restrictions and guideline changes.
The ‘Battle and Tribute’ has been made possible thanks to £499,900 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with the remainder of the cost being provided by Tamworth Borough Council, the Ready to Borrow Scheme supported by the Arts Council England and Friends of Tamworth Castle.
Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Heritage and Growth, said: “It’s been a challenging few months with the recent restrictions on working and lockdown constraints. However, we happy to announce we are at the final stages of completion of the state-of-the-art Battle and Tribute gallery, this is a really impressive change to celebrate our history, unlike anything we’ve had at the castle before.
“We wanted the public to have an exclusive look at some of the images of the exciting gallery exhibits, ahead of the official opening this year. Take a look at the mead hall showing the fire and gift stool. The king would have sat on this ‘gift stol’ when giving out gifts of loyalty to his warriors.
“The other images include that of a large snakes and ladders interactive activity for families to play. Visitors will climb a ladder or slide down a snake depending on whether they win or lose in battle or even be granted marriage to a Saxon princess!
“As part of sharing our historical Tamworth story, it will really showcase our rich Anglo-Saxon heritage, including the role of our famous warrior queen Aethelflaed and the increased display of a number of items from the Staffordshire Hoard, demonstrating how this incredible treasure trove fits into the wider history of the Kingdom of Mercia.
“We often hear that local people haven’t visited to the castle for many years, this new exhibition is really worth coming to see, we look forward to its completion and to opening this exciting exhibition to visitors safely when Covid-19 restrictions allow.”
Project to shine a light on Tamworth’s historic castle
Tamworth Castle will come under the spotlight as plans progress for a brand new external lighting scheme designed to showcase the attraction and raise its profile on a regional and national stage.
The project will see the existing lights replaced with a more modern, versatile and energy efficient solution, including a variety of colours, which will make the most of the castle’s stunning architectural features.
The plan is for the 11 orange glow up-lights to be replaced with a scheme that fully illuminates the castle to stunning and dramatic effect, as well as exploring options for projection, themed lighting.
Cllr Jeremy Oates, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for heritage and growth, said: “I am really excited by this project. Our big plans for Tamworth Castle are starting to take shape as we work on developing it even further as a major tourist attraction for the town.
“The lighting scheme is near completion and will make a huge difference in allowing the castle to take more of a centre stage.
“The existing lights are no longer fit for purpose and are very lacklustre. The new lighting will be something much more impressive and eye-catching that will show the castle off in the best possible light.
“We also want to be able to take advantage of the various national events that see buildings lit up in different colours and have therefore included colour changing capabilities into the tender specification.
“In a conversation back in 2019 I made a commitment to find a way to light up a Tamworth building for Baby Loss Awareness week, this project allows us to for fill that commitment as well as join other awareness campaigns.
“At the same time, we need to make sure the lights are more energy efficient than what we have currently. The old units were a collection of different bulb types and inefficient power ratings.
“The castle is fundamental to Tamworth’s heritage and the continued evolution of Tamworth as a town fit for the 21st century.”
Councillor Paul Brindley, Heritage Champion said:
“I am very excited to see the plans progressing for a brand new external lighting scheme designed to showcase Tamworth Castle which will raise its profile on both a regional and national stage.
The project, having being involved in the process from inception, will see the existing lights replaced with a more modern, versatile and energy efficient solution, including a variety of colours, which will make the most of the castle’s stunning architectural features.
I really can’t wait to see this scheme realised, the Tamworth FESTIVal of Light pres. A Brighter Future I conceptualised and curated in December & January gave a glimpse of what is possible creatively using light and we have so many wonderful heritage assets in Tamworth that can also benefit from similar treatments as future planned transformational projects are realised.
The Future High Street Fund Investment and wider regeneration of Tamworth excites me massively and the vision and execution of constant improvements such as this evidences our commitment to a re-imagined future proofed town centre which will benefit from an exciting new leisure, tourism, retail, events, and housing offer, seemlessly stitched together by our unique Tamworth Story, our heritage!
We have a town that we can be truly proud of, not only locally but nationally and internationally and we should certainly be shining a light on that and our unique castle is a great place to start!
2021 is going to be a great year of recovery, and shining a light of positivity on our prized heritage asset, certainly sends out the right signals.”