The Hylton Castle restoration project is entering its final phase.
Structural conservation work on the interior and exterior of the iconic 14th century building is almost complete.
New floors, roof and staircase are in place and new windows are being installed to protect the interior from the elements while the final interior work takes place over the winter.
The community led £4.5m partnership project between Sunderland City Council and Castle in the Community, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, will restore the castle and its grounds bringing it back into the heart of community life in Spring 2019.
Main contractors William Birch & Sons completed interior stone cleaning work and repairs in preparation for the installation of three new floors housing a café, lift, learning and community spaces, toilets and a rooftop viewing platform.
The restoration work has preserved the historic masonry, spiral stairs, alcoves, turrets and ornamental stonework of the buildings, with other work in and around the castle including;
- Twenty four bore holes dug for metal piling inside the building
- Construction of a steel frame inside the building to allow for new floors, lift shaft, interior fittings and a new concrete staircase to each level
- Service trenches to provide electricity and water supplies
- Restoration of masonry to prepare for installation of windows and doorways
- Structural work to prepare for new modern roof covering
- Recording of archaeological features in the castle grounds, prior to landscaping for new paths and car park
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture, Councillor John Kelly said: “The completion of the new roof and installation of the windows mark a keynote in the history of Hylton Castle, and marks a lifetime achievement for all those local volunteers and groups involved in returning this much loved local landmark to the centre of community life.
“Much of original stonework remains in place, and we look forward to making the best use of contemporary additions such as lighting, IT, and audio-visual displays and exhibitions to reflect the history of Hylton Castle and the surrounding community
“Hylton Castle has a fascinating past and an equally exciting future as a centre for heritage and community, and a major cultural landmark and visitor attraction for our city, the region and the UK.”
Chair of Castle in the Community and member of the Hylton Castle Trust, Susan Ord, added: “The future of the Hylton Castle will continue to be led by local people and members of the Hylton Castle Trust. The castle has always been at the centre of community life, and once open will provide many more opportunities for training, work experience and volunteering.
“As a Trust we are delighted to bring the castle back into use to be enjoyed by everyone in Sunderland and beyond.
“We want everybody to become involved in the life of the castle. People of different ages will share different memories of the castle’s past, but will also share different views and play their part in determining its future.”
For more information on getting involved in the Hylton Castle project please visit www.hyltoncastle.org.uk