Gainsborough Old Hall, The Old Nick Theatre and Gainsborough Heritage Centre have received a special Historic Heart Award, for their contribution towards the Townscape Heritage Initiative.
The Historic Heart Awards were developed by Gainsborough’s Townscape Heritage Initiative to recognise organisations that have assisted West Lindsey District Council with promoting Gainsborough’s rich heritage.
The council has worked closely with the three organisations who met regularly as part of the Historic Heart Forum. They supported events and raised awareness of all that Gainsborough has on offer for local residents and visitors.
English Heritage at Gainsborough Old Hall have played a huge part in making the THI initiatives such as, last Summer’s Great Gainsborough Treasure Hunt, which was a roaring success. Almost 8,000 people took part in the hunt for treasure, which led them to the Old Hall to claim their rewards.
The Old Hall also played a key role in Gainsborough’s Heritage Skills Festival in September with ancient skills demonstrations in their grounds.
They hosted Georgian dance workshops and a leather working session whilst offering FREE entry to the hall that day. This festival attracted thousands of extra visitors to the town over its 8-day duration.
Mick Grundy, Manager at The Old Hall, said: “This award demonstrates exactly what English Heritage does for the community and it draws everyone together for a common cause.”
The Old Nick Theatre group has supported events such as The Merrye Old Market of Lord Street, providing costumed characters along with their pillory and other hands-on thrills.
This was Gainsborough’s first event since lockdown and attracted thousands of visitors keen to get out and take part. The event was repeated in August 2022 in the Market Place with the addition of free traditional fair rides and Punch and Judy shows, which attracted 1800 visitors despite being one of the hottest days of the year!
In 2023 The Old Nick hosted several workshops for Gainsborough’s Heritage Skills Festival, allowing tutors to demonstrate repair and restoration work on the actual building and using the theatre space for illustrated talks.
Des Kirkland, Chairman of the Gainsborough Theatre Company said: “It’s been great working with West Lindsey District Council and what we have achieved together. We are a theatre, a museum, and one of the oldest buildings in the town. This building has an amazing history and people learn so much about the history of the building and the town when they visit us. We’ve had film companies from Australia and America here, that’s how popular we are as a building. We are very much embedded into the community.”
Gainsborough Heritage Centre has also been extremely supportive of the Townscape Heritage Initiative. As far back as 2020, during lockdown, Andy and Lynne Birkitt were providing historic reference information on the buildings targeted for restoration and have hosted the THI tab within their website.
The heritage centre also displayed a travelling exhibition titled ‘Gainsborough is Bloomin’ Brilliant’, which was developed by the Townscape Heritage Initiative in 2021 and having travelled to several locations, is currently on display in the reception area of the Guildhall in Marshall’s Yard.
Andy Birkitt, Chairman of Gainsborough Heritage Association said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award and we have absolutely loved working with Theresa Workman on this project from day one. It’s great to see the Townscape Heritage Initiative in all its glory.”