Review of the year
The Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” might well have applied to FONC this year. In last year’s address I was able to point to a number of products of our lobbying of the local authorities – to the Castle exhibition at Hazelrigg House, for example and the still recent clearing of the Castle House site and to the “temporary “ purple hoarding that now surrounded it. Since then it has become clear that the County Council has withdrawn from the leadership of the Heritage Gateway project. Instead we have a smaller more focussed group working with the Borough Council to make what progress we can incrementally. We have remain committed to that overall vision for a heritage park linking the main listed buildings and significant archaeological sites in the area , but we cannot pretend that progress is how we would wish it to be.
We have had a good deal to celebrate this year not least the spectacular success of Becket anniversary project. We have continued to provide a strong presence at history events, grown our school work and added a new dimension to our 3d animation. Members have turned to and made a success of our second time in the people’s museum gallery, adding workshops for children to the offer. Indeed, the Echoes of the Castle Exhibition in Hazelrigg now features ideas used there – the Lego and the dressing up kits, for example. We can take some credit too for the fact that this Exhibition is taking place – for it was based on our lobbying and the popularity of our tours. I can announce tonight that over a 2 month period the Exhibition as had over 900 visitors! This surely proves our point about the popularity of our lost Castle.
Know anyone with primary school aged children? We have a date for the diary! Our popular free Castles in the Air workshop is back!
The handover of keys at the new Northampton Railway station will take place on Monday 12th January and included in his tour of the station will be a presentation by Pixel Creative Technologies and the Friends of Northampton Castle.
The railway station and tracks stand on the site where Northampton Castle once stood. Though some remains are still buried under grass on the opposite side of St Andrews Road. Mobilising local opinion, the Friends have been able to gain some significant acknowledgement for the Castle in the way the new station has been decorated.
Happy New Year to all our friends, fans and followers! After extensive campaigning by FONC, 2015 should be the year we see Castle Green come into existence, enabling Northampton people and visitors to trace our history back for a thousand years and to enjoy that prospect in a delightful green, open space.
We are delighted to present local artist Elke Pollard’s vision for Castle Green. We feel that this space could provide an exciting new venue for community events and contribute to the regeneration of this part of the town centre.
Work to demolish a vacant office block in Northampton’s town centre as part of the town’s Heritage Gateway project has started.
Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council, Friends of Northampton Castle, the Churches Conservation Trust and the University of Northampton are working together on the Heritage Gateway project.
Northampton’s Masque Theatre are putting on a performance of “Becket” by Jean Anouilh to mark the 850th anniversary of the trial of Thomas Becket at Northampton Castle.
The performance will at held at the Guildhall in the atmospheric Great Hall between Wednesday the 8th and Saturday the 11th October 2014.
It was during his trial that Becket fled from the castle and made his way to France pausing, as legend has it, to take a sip of water from the spring, now Becket’s well, at the end of Derngate by Becket’s Park. Continue reading
The beautiful round church of the Holy Sepulchre. (image credit)
On Sunday 12th October, two days before the 850th anniversary of Archbishop Becket’s escape from the castle through the North Gate in 1164, the Holy Sepulchre Church will be hosting a series of events in honour of the Saint. Continue reading
Notes from FONC meeting February 2014
Planning is in full swing for our Spring Talks and Tours and also our Summer Museum exhibition on Becket at the Castle. Just two of the ways FONC is highlighting the 850th Anniversary of the Trial of Thomas Becket.
Regrettably, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) had turned down the joint NCC/FONC bid for funding events and activities linked to commemorating the 850th Anniversary of the Trial of Thomas Becket at the Castle. However, the HLF considered it to be an important and worthwhile project.
Although a set- back, FONC is determined to press on and make as much of the original project a reality as possible. Other funding sources are being explored to help achieve our aims. Continue reading
A New Year and many exciting events and opportunities need planning in this 850th anniversary year of the trial of Thomas Becket at the Castle. It is full steam ahead for this small busy working group of volunteers.