Restoring Lancaster’s Heritage
In addition to our scheduled programme of restoration works to protect the fabric of the historic buildings at Lancaster Castle, the Duchy Council has approved exceptional expenditure to cover essential repairs to the Medieval Keep.
A specialist contractor has been appointed to carry out the works in question and the 52-week programme has begun on site. The project includes the reopening of a historic ‘gateway’ from the rear of the Castle (adjacent to the Shire Hall entrance) through to the interior of the Execution Yard. Once the restoration works have been completed, this access will provide a valuable emergency exit route into and out of the Castle complex.
In advance of works commencing on site, archaeologists from Salford University spent time carrying out specialist site investigation works. They uncovered foundations of old walls and drains associated with 19th century buildings as well as deposits dating back to Roman times. The Castle is situated on the site of an old Roman camp and fragments of Roman pottery as well as two Roman coins were discovered during excavations. One of the Roman coins is confirmed as being a Sestertius of the emperor Domitian dating to AD96 and archaeologists believe the second to be from the reign of Domitian (AD85-89). Other more modern finds included fragments of pottery from the Prison service, as well as a prison issue plastic toothbrush from the 1960’s!
Smaller works, including the creation of two new workshop spaces and two additional WCs, are currently nearing completion, with the workshops expected to be ready for occupation by the end of November. In addition, planning and listed building applications for the reconfiguration and refurbishment of the Security Lodge on the ground floor of the Gatehouse have been approved and tender documents prepared for issue.
Commenting on the current programme of works, Head of Rural Restoration Lara Thompson said: “It is such a privilege to be able to bring these historic buildings back to life and to be able to share them with the people of Lancaster. I would like to thank all Castle tenants, our partners at both Lancaster City and Lancashire County Council and Historic England for their ongoing support. We look forward to continuing to work with them to protect this important heritage asset for future generations, while further improving the public realm around the Castle precinct to the benefit of all.”