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The Duchy of Lancaster and Lancashire County Council Museums Service are to open up the A-Wing of Lancaster Castle from Monday 15th August 2016. A new ‘Prison Life’ exhibition, which has been jointly managed and funded by Lancashire County Council and the Duchy of Lancaster, has been installed in the ground-floor cells to help to tell the story of the building’s Victorian past.
Each of the ground floor cells in A-Wing will focus on a particular aspect of prison life, including food, work, health, religion, recreation and punishment. Historic artefacts secured by the Lancashire County Council (LCC) Museums Service will be on display, supported by wall panels explaining the historical context and genuine quotes from prisoners and former prison guards displayed on the walls.
This is designed as a ‘walk-through’ exhibition to allow visitors to view the cells at their own pace. Access will only be possible as part of a guided tour by official LCC staff. There will be no extra charge for this extension to the existing tour, with ticket prices held at £8.00 per adult and £6.50 for concessions (£20 for a family ticket).
Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “We promised to open up as much of the Castle as possible to members of the general public, residents and tourists to the city. This is the latest manifestation of us delivering on this promise and we will continue to do our best to open up new areas of the Castle as the restoration works are completed.”
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning and Cultural Services, added: “There has always been a great deal of public interest in A-Wing, which is a traditional Pentonville-style prison as seen in popular films and TV programmes, such as Porridge. Originally started in the 1820s, it incorporates a panopticon, a glass atrium and 18 cells over each of 3 floors. The addition of this building to our guided tours will open up more areas of the prison to the general public and help them to understand that part of the history of the Castle is as a place of incarceration and imprisonment.”
The prison life exhibition will be added to the Castle’s guided tours from Monday 15th August 2016.
The Duchy of Lancaster has re-let its extensive grouse moor at Goathland on a long-term improving lease to be managed by specialist moorland agents, BH Sporting.
The two grouse moors, which extend to nearly 5,000 acres and include an area of Special Scientific Interest, form part of the North Yorkshire Moors and have belonged to the Duchy since the 13th century. One of the country’s most spectacular areas of heather moorland, Goathland and Wheeldale Moors have been carefully managed and maintained by the Duchy to preserve their natural beauty and the diversity of their flora and fauna.
Commenting on the new lease, BH Sporting said: “The preservation of this vibrant moorland requires careful and experienced management. As the leading specialists in grouse moor recovery and sporting estate management, BH Sporting are ideally placed to administer this and to maintain this abundant moorland for generations to come.”
Under the new lease, four full-time gamekeepers will work on the grouse moor and will be responsible for its upkeep and maintenance.
The Duchy of Lancaster estate at Goathland covers a total of 4,532 hectares and also includes upland grazing, as well as areas of common land in the popular village of the same name.
Owl nesting boxes at the Duchy of Lancaster’s Hanbury Grange property in Staffordshire have proved popular again this year, with chicks close to fledgling discovered on site earlier this month.
This is the third consecutive year that chicks have been hatched in one of the five nesting boxes installed by the Duchy in 2008, providing encouraging signs that brood numbers are improving.
The Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group who monitor over 400 nest boxes across the UK, including those at Hanbury Grange, are delighted to see more of the boxes being used. “These beautiful birds just cannot survive without our help,” says Helen Cottam. “Numbers have been declining over recent years and yet it requires little effort on the part of farmers and landowners to provide these safe havens and help to protect these beautiful birds and encourage them to nest.“
Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow agrees: “One of the Duchy’s key roles is to respect and preserve the natural landscape. This year, we are working with Natural England and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust to audit all of our rural land holdings so that we can properly understand the nature and quantum of species that live there. This in turn will help us to protect and preserve these habitats for generations to come.”
This year, it appears that the most popular of the boxes has been the one furthest away from the barn. This is a change from previous years and may be due to increased activity on the farm over the last 12 months.
The conservation of barn owls is helped by the protection of habitats such as rough grassland rich in small mammals, together with nest boxes to help maximise opportunities for roosting, nesting and the nurturing of young chicks.
A £90,000 refurbishment project at Burniston Farm House near Scarborough has paid dividends, with new tenants moving into the property within days of completion. The 3-bedroomed detached dormer bungalow which sits on an elevated site in the centre of the village, is part of the Duchy of Lancaster’s 1,173-hectare Cloughton estate which includes 40 residential and tenanted properties.
The Duchy team has completely renovated and refurbished the house in line with the Duchy quality standard and specification to create a modern family home which retains the character of the original building but is contemporary in its layout, décor and finish.
The new tenants are local to Burniston and were keen to stay in the village, but were looking for a larger property that would give them and their two young children room to grow. They first saw Burniston Farm House while the refurbishment was underway and signed up almost immediately.
“We were really pleased to be able take on the tenancy of Burniston Farmhouse” explains new tenant, Mr Ian Carroll. “The property offered plenty of space and a large private garden which is perfect for the children. The work to the property has been finished to an excellent quality and has made this a perfect family home. Absolutely brilliant all round!”
The Duchy of Lancaster owns a number of properties in Cloughton, Scalby and Burniston villages and is currently working hard to roll out a programme of maintenance, repair and refurbishment where appropriate across its residential portfolio. “The Duchy is committed to investing in its residential properties and bringing them in line with our new design and specification standards,” added Duchy of Lancaster Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow. “We believe that the Duchy should be a byword for quality and the early indications are that both tenants and newcomers to the Duchy are very pleased with the results. We are working hard to roll this programme out across the estates in the years ahead.”
For information on Duchy of Lancaster properties currently available to rent across Yorkshire, please contact Megan Trotman on 01904 756300.