Celebrating 1,000 years of traditional crafts in Lincoln

Thousands of people flocked to Lincoln Castle for the annual 1,000 Years of Traditional Crafts event.

The event took place on Saturday 31 May to Sunday 1 June, from 10am till 6pm. It hosted more than fifty traditional craftspeople, sharing their skills and knowledge, from blacksmithing, using a pole-lathe and willow weaving to stonemasonry, jewellery-making and silversmithing. More than 1,600 people came through the gates, strolled around the special demonstration areas and had a go themselves at some of the crafts on display.

Event sponsor Robert Woodhead Ltd is currently in the fourth phase of the £19.9m Lincoln Castle Revealed project. The company’s conservation team Woodhead Heritage has been responsible for the ambitious restoration of the medieval castle, as well as the Victorian prison buildings.

Work has included:

• refurbishing the Georgian and Victorian prison buildings;

• restoring the castle walls, Lucy Tower, Observatory Tower, Cobb Hall and Bath House;

• creating a complete wall walk that will enable visitors to walk all the way around the walls and enjoy spectacular views over the city;

• installing state-of-the-art interpretation that will chart the history of the castle and prison through film, audio, digital interactive displays and panels;

• constructing an underground vault to display Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest – the only place in the world where they can be seen together;

• creating an ‘in the round’ cinema that will screen films about Magna Carta;

• refurbishing the front range of the prison and creating a new shop and café; and

• installing a lift to the walls that will enable disabled visitors to access the wall walk.

As part of the activities, 600 visitors took part in 26 behind-the-scenes tours of the conservation work at Lincoln Castle.

Staff from the specialist conservation team at Woodhead Heritage were on hand to show people around the work, as well as share the traditional skills and techniques used in the castle’s restoration. This included stonemasonry, joinery demonstrated by Jericho Joinery, and lead work demonstrated by Martin Brooks Roofing, all of which have been part of the project.

Jamie Keegans, the project’s quantity surveyor said: “We were again delighted to be a part of the 1,000 Years of Traditional Crafts event. Working on the Lincoln Castle Revealed project is a real honour for the heritage team, and we were proud to take visitors around the site and show them the progress in the huge restoration project.”

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Member for Culture and Heritage, said: “It was wonderful to see again how many people enjoy visiting the castle grounds, especially during an event such as the 1,000 Years of Traditional Crafts.

“So many of these skills and crafts would be lost to history if it wasn’t for people like the stallholders. For them to share their art with the public, and even teach people how to do it, is fantastic.”