Next Chapter in the story of Hylton Castle begins
Written by Scott McGerty on 26th March 2018
The Hylton Castle Restoration project is entering the next phase with structural conservation work about to begin on the exterior of the 14th Century building.
The £4.5m partnership project between Sunderland City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund which is supported by English Heritage, will restore the castle and its grounds to heart of community life as a visitor and learning centre.
Main contractors William Birch & Sons have almost completed the interior stone cleaning work to prepare for the installation of three floors to house a café, education and visitor centre, toilets and rooftop viewing platform.
More than 60 feet of interior scaffolding has allowed conservation of the historic masonry, stairway, alcoves, turrets and ornamental stonework.
With the interior scaffolding and cleaning complete, the attention of the skilled conservation craftsmen and women has turned to the exterior of the historic landmark.
The scaffolding is going up alongside the historic building to allow work to begin, with preparatory work in and around the castle including;
- Twenty four 300m bore holes dug for metal piling inside the building
- Construction of a steel frame inside the building to allow for construction of new floors, lift shaft, interior fittings and a new concrete staircase to each level
- Service trenches to provide electricity and water supplies
- Restoration of masonry to prepare for installation of windows and doorways
- Structural work to prepare for new modern roof covering
- Recording of archaeological features in the castle grounds
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “Our aim is to restore the original stonework as much as possible, and then provide the interior, modern structure needed to insert the floors, ceilings, lift, power and water supplies needed to return the building to lift.”
“Hylton Castle has a fascinating past, and an exciting future as a visitor and learning centre at the heart of the community, sharing people’s stories of its history with future generations.”
A huge part of the Hylton Castle project is also about creating local training, employment and volunteering opportunities with regular activities in and around the castle and Dene until restoration work is complete later this year and it re-opens its doors.
Recently this included a clean-up of the grounds by local volunteers as part of the national Keep Britain Tidy ‘Great British Spring Clean’ campaign.
Students from Castle View Enterprise Academy turned out to clear paths of litter, alongside volunteers from the local community at a number of sessions during March, making environmental improvements to the Dene to improve it both for people and wildlife.
More volunteers are always welcome, you can find details on how to get involved and more about the Hylton Castle restoration by clicking here.