As Newark prepares for the launch of the UK’s first National Civil War Centre, a £5.4m attraction that will open in the magnificent Grade II* Old Magnus Building on Appletongate, over 50 volunteer guides are being sought to make the Centre a big success.
The volunteers are being recruited to help run the exciting new venue, currently undergoing a massive restoration project, backed by £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Once open, it is expected that 60,000 people will visit each year from across the globe and a world class welcome is being planned.
The museum will feature hundreds of previously unseen relics, compelling storylines about local people who endured three terrible 17th century sieges, along with hi-tech interactive displays. It will also be a hub for visitors wanting to go out into the town to explore other civil war sites using the ground-breaking town trail app now being developed for smart phones and tablets.
Andrea Smedley, Volunteer Manager at the Centre, said: “Volunteer guides and room stewards are a vital part of our plans. This is a chance to be part of something really big and help people get the most from their visit.”
Full training will be given and rotas will be flexible to allow people to balance their other commitments. Up to seven volunteers will be needed on any one day to work alongside permanent staff. If you would like to get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01636 655777.
Meanwhile an epic clash of arms will mark the Centre’s launch on the Bank Holiday weekend of Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th May. Nearly 900 Civil War re-enactors and a battery of cannons from across the UK will descend on the market town, reviving memories of the three sieges it endured during the 17th British Civil Wars.
Highlights will include living history camps, set-piece battles and a recreation of the final dramatic moments of the third siege, when the bedraggled Royalist garrison marched out with its flags flying after surrendering. Groups taking part will include The Sealed Knot, English Civil War Society and History Re-enactment Workshop. More details can be found at: www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com.
Building further on Newark’s Civil War history is an ambitious plan, recently unveiled, to turn Newark Castle’s historic Gatehouse into a major new visitor attraction. The impressive 12th century landmark – where the infamous John, King of England died in 1216 – has been lined up for major renovation and restoration work – if funding can be secured.
A grant application is being drawn up for the scheme. The scheduled ancient monument is one of the finest surviving Norman Gatehouses in the country and Newark and Sherwood District Council, which manages it, will be making a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Gatehouse Project would cost £800,000 and the council is also looking at other potential funding partners.