Releasing the Story of Sutton Hoo

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Sutton Hoo © David Gill

The National Trust has been awarded £1.8 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enhance the visitor experience at Sutton Hoo. One of the projects will be to create a 17 m high viewing tower to give some visitors views of the burial ground. Tranmer House, overlooking the cemetery, will be the home for a new interpretative exhibition.

Portencross Castle

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Portencross Castle © David Gill

Portencross Castle is built on the Firth of Clyde and dates back to the 14th century. It faces the islands of Bute and (a little further away) Arran.

The castle was scheduled in 1955. It is now managed by the Friends of Portencross Castle who have been able to open up the castle with the support of HLF and Historic Scotland.

During the Second World War the castle was surveyed by Vere Gordon Childe.

Overseas visitors, heritage and the UK economy

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Durham Cathedral © David Gill

HLF has published a report that demonstrates that overseas visitors to heritage attractions in the UK spent £7.4 billion (“UK PLC: New figures reveal overseas visitors to heritage are driving the UK’s tourism economy“, 24 October 2016). UK domestic overnight visitors spent £4.7 billion, and UK day trips were worth £5.3 billion. Heritage tourism is now worth £2.1 billion to the economy of Scotland.

The information is published in Economic impact of UK heritage tourism economy (2016).

An increase in tourism is likely to be one of the impacts of Brexit making heritage an even greater contributor to the UK economy.

Developments at the Long Shop Museum

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Long Shop Museum, Leiston © David Gill

The Long Shop Museum in Leiston has been awarded £2 million by the HLF (“Long Shop Museum in Leiston awarded lottery grant“, BBC News 19 October 2016). The works were owned by the Garrett family from the 18th century.

The grant is part of a £3 million project to transform the site (“New lease of life for world’s first assembly line“, HLF Press Release 19 October 2016). This will assist with:

Alongside vital repairs, the project will help provide an enhanced visitor experience with new activities: the creation of a reminiscence café, a community hub and a Youth Shed where young people can gain basic engineering skills and find inspiration in the achievements of Richard Garrett, his descendants and those who worked at the site.

New displays will feature the Museum’s own extensive collections – from sickles to steam engines – and draw on the Garrett Archive at Suffolk Record Office to explore the history of industry and science, tell the stories of the workers and reveal more about the lives of the Garrett family – including Elizabeth Garrett who became the first woman in Britain to qualify as a doctor.

The Future of Suffolk’s Heritage

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UCS and the Wet Dock, Ipswich Marina © David Gill

The HLF announced today that it had awarded £538,100 to the Stage 1 funding of ‘The Hold’, the working title of the new Heritage Centre that will include the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office (‘New Suffolk Heritage Centre wins HLF support‘, HLF Press Release, May 23, 2016). The Heritage Centre is a collaborative project between Suffolk County Council and University Campus Suffolk (to be known as the University of Suffolk from 1 August 2016).

The second stage of the project will be for £10.3 million to allow the construction of the new centre on the UCS North Campus (to the north of the Waterfront Building).

The aim of the project is ‘to create a flagship heritage facility to protect and promote the county’s archives, provide state of the art learning facilities, and engage more people in the history of Suffolk through an ambitious programme of community activity’.

The Stage 1 grant has been welcomed by New Anglia LEP (‘Proposed New Heritage Centre Receives Over £0.5million Grant‘).

Stour Barge

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Stour Barge at UCS © David Gill

One of the projects supported by the Heritage Futures team was the ‘Managing a Masterpiece‘ project on the Stour Valley. One of the projects was the reconstruction of the ‘John Constable’ Stour barge. This was first displayed at UCS before being transported to Sudbury.

A detailed report (‘The Stour Navigation Compendium’) can be found here.

Developments at Sutton Hoo

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View of burial mounds at Sutton Hoo from temporary viewing tower (2015) © David Gill

The HLF has announced that it will be funding a major new development at the Anglo-Saxon burial site at Sutton Hoo, ‘Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story’ [NT Press Release; BBC News]. The first part of the grant will help to develop the visitor experience:

Plans include building a raised platform to provide views over the entire burial ground and to the River Deben beyond, which itself played such a significant part in the Sutton Hoo story. It was from the river that the Anglo-Saxon ship was hauled up the valley before it was used in the burial chamber found in Mound One, where the famous treasure was discovered, and it is hoped that visitors will also follow in the footsteps of the final stages of this dramatic journey. New innovative interpretation will help bring both the landscape and the museum to life.

Sutton Hoo attracted over 100,000 visitors in 2014 and this grant news is a very welcome development.

We would like to offer our congratulations to the National Trust and the team at Sutton Hoo.

The ship burials at Sutton Hoo remain one of the most important archaeological discoveries to be made in Britain. Thanks to this new grant, visitors to the site will be able to understand the significance of the location. Sutton Hoo will become a hub for visitors to Suffolk to explore what was known in the Late Roman period as the ‘Saxon Shore’.

The major finds from Sutton Hoo are displayed in the British Museum.

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The mounds at Sutton Hoo © David Gill