Duchy Commences Next Phase At Lancaster Castle
On Monday 4th September 2017, the Duchy of Lancaster started work on an extensive programme of repair and conservation works at Lancaster Castle. Scheduled for completion in June 2019, the works will open up the former prison kitchen yard and reveal a number of historic buildings currently hidden from view, including the King’s Evidence Tower, Male Felons Tower and former prison hospital building.
The Duchy has made significant progress in the restoration of Lancaster Castle since its return to Duchy ownership at the end of 2011. The initial phase of works focused on repairs and remedial works to the roofs, windows and stonework of the historic buildings facing onto the Castle courtyard. Other improvements completed this year include the transformation of the first floor of the Victorian debtors’ workshops into a new permanent Duchy office and the restoration of the Victorian clock-tower and bell. A new ‘Duchy Room’ has been opened up at the base of the clock-tower where visitors can view a standing exhibition exploring the historic links between the Castle and the Duchy over the last 750 years.
This next phase of development includes the removal and relocation of the existing Visitors Centre. As a result, the Ticket Office and Shop will be moved to the ground floor of A-Wing and the existing café will be closed while a new purpose-built catering and hospitality suite is constructed in the former ‘link block’ and along the rear exterior walls of the Castle.
Commenting on the plans, Graeme Chalk, Head of Project Management for the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “Our primary focus is on continuing to ensure that the Castle buildings are weather-proof and watertight. We are also committed to revealing and restoring as much of the Castle as possible and bringing these historic building back into use wherever possible. This next phase of development will do just that, creating a large new public open space, uncovering a series of arched colonnades along the front of the Victorian debtors’ workshops and establishing a state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility on site.”