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Remembering our rebellious past

Next year Nottingham Castle will reopen after a £30 million redevelopment, designed to breathe new life into our city’s most prominent landmark and I cannot wait to see the results of the transformation. 

 I was appointed as the castle’s Curator of Rebellion from 2015-18, working alongside politicians, local history enthusiasts and civic leaders to ensure that Nottingham’s colourful history does not go unseen. 

I am proud to have helped secure a successful £13 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards the project and will be excited to see the new Rebellion Gallery unveiled when the castle reopens in 2020. 

The gallery will explore some of the key characters who have made our city what it is today. 

Take, for example, the Duke of Wellington, or Iron Duke, the legendary general whose troops defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. A controversial character who was both revered and despised for his strong political beliefs, it is a direct result of his actions that Nottingham’s castle looks the way it does today. 

"A controversial character who was both revered and despised for his strong political beliefs, it is a direct result of his actions that Nottingham’s castle looks the way it does today. "
Dr Richard Gaunt

Wellington was the embodiment of resistance to the electoral reform movement that rocked 19th-century England, a stance that Nottingham Castle’s then owner the Duke of Newcastle shared. In October 1831, rioters, appalled by these Conservative views, razed the castle to the ground. 

The Rebellion Gallery will tell this story and many more, bringing to life our city’s rich past. I feel extremely privileged and proud to be playing such a key part in the next chapter of Nottingham Castle’s history. 

Richard Gaunt

Dr Richard Gaunt is an Associate Professor within the Department of History.

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