Restoration and conservation of Newcastle's architectural heritage, providing a legacy for the city's future, have been key to unlocking millions of pounds of Heritage Lottery Funding for the city over the past few years. Making this heritage investment sustainable in a thriving, ever-changing city centre, is the long term goal. NE1's ability to involve and galvanise neighbouring businesses is an integral part of successful delivery.
The latest announcement that St Nicholas’ Cathedral has been successful in its bid for Heritage Lottery Funding is great news for Newcastle and for the historic quarter of the city in which it resides.
The original Newcastle Castle that gave the city its name was the first to start the ball rolling transforming the Castle Keep and Blackgate into a popular visitor attraction and event space. This was closely followed by NE1’s Bigg Market rejuvenation project where NE1 is working with Newcastle City Council and local property owners to restore the area to its former glory and improve its economic viability for the future; and last but not least the Cathedral. Together these three projects create a heritage trail based on the three traditional pillars of a medieval city, Church, State and Market – the city’s beating commercial heart.
All this work and investment combines to restore the historic significance of the city centre as well as securing the area and its heritage for years to come. The HLF grant, NE1’s own investment, with match funding from landlords, the City Council together with its heritage planning expertise provides the means to rejuvenate buildings and public realm, in the Bigg Market which together will fully restore the historic brand of Newcastle.
With events like next year’s Great Exhibition of the North, this heritage restoration will reinforce the historic brand of Newcastle, attract a raft of new visitors and help put Newcastle on the same historic footing as other UK cities like Durham, Bath and York that are synonymous with history and heritage.
For NE1, when the physical restoration of the Bigg Market is complete, the heritage and legacy work will begin, arguably the most exciting part of the project. The restoration runs a lot deeper than the bricks and mortar rejuvenation, a programme of events and activities are planned to revive and animate the space, keeping it active and creating a welcome space for the public to use. Markets, local history tours, arts programmes and work with the city’s Universities, schools and colleges will all bring the space to life and ensure it attracts new visitors and groups who currently are not using it. We want people to reconnect with the Bigg Market and the surrounding area.
All the exciting new commercial development happening across Newcastle is great news. The city’s global success depends on combining the old with the new and restoring and reinvigorating the city’s historic core and brand identity. It is the city’s history and its past that give it its distinct identity, playing a vital role in helping shape its future.