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The Malt Cross celebrates a bumper year for tours

Rebekah_Wood_Cave_Tour

People have been arriving in their droves to discover the hidden history of Nottingham’s Malt Cross.

More than 5,000 people have taken a tour of the former Victorian music hall on St James’s Street since they began last October, according to the latest figures.

The tours were introduced when the Malt Cross re-opened following a £1.38million makeover, paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund. During the renovation, a network of sandstone caves were uncovered and opened to the public for the first time.

Those who have taken the tour have been given a glimpse into its music hall past and found out about the intriguing characters who performed there, before going underground to the caves.

According to the heritage team, the tours have attracted a diverse range of people including tourists, local residents, school children and social club members, as well as people with an interest in local history or architecture.

Dr Rebekah Wood, heritage engagement worker for education and outreach at the Malt Cross Trust, devised the tours – and says that the newly-opened caves are proving particularly popular among visiting groups.

“It’s a bit of a Narnia moment when they stand in front of the cupboard door that leads to the secret passageways,” she said.

“Down in the caves they really get a sense of the hidden history under the streets of Nottingham. The tours are supposed to last an hour but often go on longer because people have so many questions.”

Meanwhile, the Malt Cross is currently on the look out for more volunteers to lead the tours. No experience is necessary but a love of history is essential.

Tours of the Malt Cross, on St James’s Street, take place at 2pm, Tuesday to Friday and at 12pm and 2pm on Saturdays. They cost £3 per person.

For further details or to book a tour visit www.maltcross.com. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer tour guide should call Dr Wood on 0115 941 1048 or email heritage@maltcross.com.

Posted on 17 September 2015

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