Following a £4.2m restoration and support from Sunderland City Council, National Lottery Heritage Fund, Castle in the Community group and English Heritage, Hylton Castle has been lovingly transformed into a beautiful heritage and community venue, which will be run by Hylton Castle Trust on behalf of the community.
Set over three floors, Hylton Castle will be home to a multitude of learning, event and exhibition spaces, as well as a café.
The Trust will also deliver community-based learning and engagement programmes. Working alongside local schools and various parts of the voluntary and community sector, Hylton Castle will be at the heart of the Wearside community and offer invaluable opportunities for training and volunteering too!
Of course, everyone is welcome to come along and visit the castle without taking part in any of the many events or activities.
Work to transform Hylton Castle into a heritage and community venue for all to enjoy began in 2016, with construction work beginning in autumn 2017.
The state-of-the-art revitalisation of this 14th century medieval castle has provided several construction training opportunities for local young people. Sunderland’s young people worked alongside skilled crafts people to gain valuable insight into a range of traditional skills, such as stone and wood working. These opportunities have successfully provided pathways into apprenticeships and employment for several of these young people.
Local volunteers have also been playing their part in helping to bring the site back to life. They have been turning their hands to everything from photography, litter- picking and guided tours of the building, as well as providing interpretation content. This content will allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the castle’s history and heritage.
The recently-revealed architecture and corbels will tell previously untold stories of the castle’s fascinating past and the unique roof viewing platform will offer stunning views of present-day Sunderland.
With funding of £2.9m provided by National Lottery Heritage Fund, along with financial contributions from Sunderland City Council, Garfield Weston and The Wolfson Foundation, the castle has been restored sympathetically, making sure the original architecture and surrounding landscape remains intact to be enjoyed by local residents and visitors.
Councillor John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a really exciting time; the castle is such a fantastic asset for the city and we’ve had a huge amount of interest in its transformation.”
“This project isn’t just about celebrating the history of the castle and the grounds, it’s about celebrating the different roles the building has played in the heart of the community and in the lives of the generations of people connected with it.”
“The fact that this has been very much a community project, led by local people for over 25 years, is what makes it so special. In the last year alone, we’ve had more than 120 people volunteering their time, skills and expertise in a range of roles from raising awareness of the castle’s history and leading workshops with local school children, to carrying out environmental work in Hylton Dene and hosting a huge battle re-enactment in the castle grounds.”
Susan Ord, Chair of Hylton Castle Trust, said: “The Trustees are looking forward to working with our partners to create a new chapter in the history of the castle, putting it once more at the heart of the community, engaging and inspiring the next generation to protect this key part of Sunderland’s heritage”.
Hylton Castle Trust will be partnered in the management and operation of the castle by Sunderland North Community Business Centre, which already manages Fulwell Mill and Bowes Railway.
FIND OUT MORE BY VISITING HYLTONCASTLE.ORG.UK.