We visit the site of the new Newark Civil War Museum
Nottinghamshire is set to host the first Civil War Centre in the country from 2015, with a brand new attraction in the pipeline for Newark. Work has recently begun on the new National Civil War Centre which will be hosted within the Old Magnus building, a grade II* listed property in Nottinghamshire’s historic market town. The development of the building will cost in the region of £5.4m, utilising augmented reality technology as well as housing unique artefacts from the period to tell the story of one of the largest conflicts in the country’s history.
Councillor Tony Roberts, MBE, Chair of Leisure and Environment Committee at Newark and Sherwood District Council in front of the Old Magnus Building in Newark, set for a £5.4m refurbishment to house the nation’s first dedicated National Civil War centre.
The Centre is expected to welcome 60,000 visitors a year when open. It will be the first of its kind, attracting visitors from around the UK as well as internationally to learn about the historic conflict that is sewn into the rich history of the country.
To provide some context to the significance of Newark’s new attraction, here is a bit of historical background to the civil war. The English civil war is a major part of 17th century history, taking hold of Britain between 1642 – 1651. The disputes centred around the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, stemming from disagreements around money, religion and foreign policy between them. The conflicts that followed, resulted in the trial and execution of Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as the exile of his son Charles II, and a system whereby the monarchy could not rule and pass laws without approval from Parliament. Nottingham played its role in the civil war as it was in Nottingham on 22nd August 1642 that Charles raised the royal standard, to rally support to his cause.
Work is being carried out as we speak to ensure that there are plenty of exhibits and artefacts on display ready for the opening of the new centre in 2015. Curators are now cataloging and conserving precious artefacts. These include cannon balls, battle plans, swords and propaganda tracts. One recently discovered gem that is amongst them is an exquisite mid-17th century gold ring found by a local metal detectorist near Parliamentary earthworks on Newark’s outskirts. Glyn Hughes Team Leader, Collections and Exhibitions at Newark and Sherwood District Council, explained:
“The ring is inscribed with the words “No calamity will separate our amity”. We know that some families had split Royalist and Parliamentary loyalties and brothers even ended up fighting against each other. One theory we are working on is that it was given by a friend or family member to someone who was on the opposite side of the conflict. It is not too fanciful to think that for the ring giver the bonds of love transcended differences of beliefs. It is beautiful object and one which will go on display when the National Civil War Centre opens.”
While the development of the site of the new National Civil War Centre is taking place, we will be making regular visits to track progress and we’ll bring you exciting updates and developments as they happen. This new attraction will be a fantastic asset to the county and the UK as an entity and we are very excited about the launch of the museum in 2015.
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