Preservation of the site was paramount throughout the project, and one of the key and most complex elements of the build was work to the Grade I listed Ducal Palace, which will house the new Robin Hood and Rebellion galleries, telling stories of the city’s legendary outlaw.
Working closely with Historic England, stonework and lime plaster restoration was undertaken to bring the building back to its former glory.
A particular focus of the sensitive restoration was ensuring repairs remained in line with the heritage of the original building.
Externally the Ducal Palace, which dates back to the 1660s, with the museum opening in the 1870s, now benefits from extensive roof repairs including the refurbishment of roof tiles and the addition of new slate, roof lights and lead gutters.
The scaffolding and temporary roof required to safely carry out the restoration works was designed to be free standing, with the structure ballasted with water butts, ensuring the scaffolding didn’t touch the building preventing damage to the masonry.
New to the site is the contemporary visitors centre, which will house the ticketing office and café with an outdoor seating area.
This was constructed using a steel frame and timber core insulated walls, with the external oak cladding chosen due to its association with Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.
For future tours, access to the caves within the castle rock has also been improved with new handrails and lighting for increased safety and accessibility.
The history and heritage of the site, which dates back to Norman times, meant any excavations had to be carefully considered.
Extensive surveys were carried out to ensure areas of archaeological interest were identified, and the unique archaeology of the site was preserved, recorded, and protected.
Whilst on-site, main contractors G F Tomlinson recycled 97% of its construction waste, contributing positively to the local environment and the climate change agenda.
The contractor also provided many opportunities for local people including 27,000 hours of employment, training and social value initiatives.
Further opportunities included local school and college site tours, graduate work experience placements, apprenticeships and employment opportunities, alongside support for local charity Framework – which focuses on housing, health, employment, support and care for people across the Midlands.