Apologies were received from Bob Edwards.
Following the sudden closure of the OBL, our meeting was still able to take place due to the kind offer made by Jenny Crane the minister of Castle Hill Church to use a room there.
Jon informed us that the OBL is in danger of collapsing and so will remain closed until remedial repair work is complete. Given it is a Listed Building, so should therefore be eligible for grants towards costs of repair, it was agreed that Jon and Tom would liaise on writing a note to English Heritage highlighting its significance.
Marie reported that she had not received any progress update from Peter at CCT following our acceptance to his invitation, which he made at our last meeting, to take part in the governance of his proposed social enterprise partnership. John volunteered to contact Peter for news of progress.
Despite the wet and cold weather conditions, the May Castle Revels had attracted around 300 people to the event. John was particularly pleased that many came from the local community; especially the Muslim families who had ventured into the Castle Hill Church to see and take part in the activities that had located there due to the bad weather. One such activity was the large mural painted by children which will be put up in the Church. Jon suggested, and it was agreed, that a letter of thanks should be sent to the Castle Hill Church for its supportive role during the Castle Revels. The staging of future revel events was discussed. Tom thought the University had been interested in providing short drama re-enactments of the castle’s history during the Revel but subsequently had not been forthcoming. It was suggested that the Masque theatre group might be interested and could be approached to perform at a future event if the University was no longer interested.
The recent announcement that the redevelopment of Castle station had been approved and that work would commence in the autumn meant that the promised £500,000 for the heritage gateway should now be available. However, as yet, Marie had not heard anything from Brian Binley MP. Lobbying would continue.
Sanaa was thanked for his amazing 3D model of the Castle video; which he has been working on with the University. Before putting on the website he wants to further refine it. It was suggested that when it is available to view on the website it should be publicised by the local press.
Lindsay gave details of a CCT fundraising tea-party taking place on Sunday 17th June, 2-5pm at St. Peter’s Church. Any offers of help would be appreciated as St. Peter’s is in need of more volunteers. It would be an opportunity to promote FoNC. Display boards and a table would be available. It was agreed that Sanaa’s maps of the Castle and Jon’s information boards produced for the recent museum exhibition would be ideal promotional display material as well as the historic trail leaflets. There were also offers of help on the day.
Planning for ‘the big Dig’ in the grounds of Spring Lane School during Archaeology week in July were progressing. John and Jon would soon be meeting with the school Head to finalise details such as the exact date (weekend 14th/15th or weekend 21st/22nd July). It was hoped that the Year 6 in local schools (11 years of age) and interested post 16 students would take part. There would be an information booklet for volunteers; each would receive a participation certificate and a copy of the newsletter that would be produced after the event. The Mayor had agreed to do the ‘first sod- turning’ which would provide an opportunity for further media attention and £2,000 for the dig was available from the Community First Fund. Following an e-mail received from the County Archaeologist it was agreed that she should be kept informed of developments.
Ellen has been busy arranging for the Alison Weir Book Event. The date is now set for Thursday 27th September; however subsequent to this meeting, the date maybe subject to change. There will be a pre-event for VIP’s 6-30 to 7pm. The local Waterstone’s bookshop will be there and advertising the event instore. There will be a press release to coincide with Alison Weir appearing at the Althorp Literary Festival. Ellen showed copies of the proposed poster; which everyone approved and she was thanked for all her efforts. Tickets will cost £7 on the door; £5 waged and £3 unwaged in advance; with a reduction for members of FoNC. There will also be an opportunity there to become a member of FoNC. Jon has agreed to give Alison a guided tour of the Castle area during the afternoon of the Book Event.
John announced that the University had agreed to a loan of the Tom Osborne Robinson’s panels of Northampton History for display in St. Peter’s Church once a linkage theme and suitable date had been fixed. There is also the possibility of keeping them if a permanent home could be found; such as if or when the OBL becomes a visitor’s centre.
It is being arranged for a FoNC bank account to be set up and running in the next few days. Joe suggested a membership fee of £5 for a half year starting in July. There was a discussion on whether to charge for a whole year running from July; however, it was decided on a half year membership and to assess at the end of this year with a view to a year’s membership starting in January 2013. It was also discussed whether to have family membership; it was agreed that children should have free junior membership.
Tom outlined the need for funding to help with research and to develop research tools. He highlighted the four following areas:
- The need to assess the extent of documentary records on the Castle. Costs incurred would include travel to view documents and expert translation when required.
- Developing a research network. Identify who else is researching castles in the area with a view to sharing knowledge.
- Training members to read documents. Thus ensuring continuity of knowledge in FoNC.
- The publication and dissemination of knowledge.
The High Sheriff Fund was suggested as a possible source of funding to be looked into. Suggestions for access to other sources of funding would be welcomed.
Date of next meeting Friday 6th July. The venue to be announced once arranged.