Nottingham Castle isn’t a crumbling ruin or a majestic fortified building with turrets and flags. In actual fact it looks more like a stately home than a castle. This is because it was actually a Palace for the Duke of Newcastle and is built on ground where a Castle once stood. It has been rebuilt many times but eventually was restored to be the art gallery and museum it is today.
Ethan’s class (Year 2) recently had a visit there to see the art works on display, in particular one called “The Goose Fair”, more information here. This painting is by Arthur Spooner and was painted in 1926 when the Goose Fair took place in Nottingham’s Market Square (it is now usually on the much bigger Forest Recreation Ground). The Goose Fair is a travelling fair that takes place every year in Nottingham.
The children talked about what they could see in the painting and how different and similar it is to our experience of Goose Fair today. The painting is much bigger “in the flesh” than we imagined. Also in the room there was dressing up clothes so the children could dress up as characters from the painting. Ethan headed straight to the clown costume, and had to be a bit silly dressing up in it. The clown in the painting is actually how the painter portrayed himself.
The children spent the whole day at the castle, having lunch in the gate house, which is all that is left of the traditional castle. In the afternoon they went into the Long Gallery, chose their favourite painting from there and found out some more information about it. They then went downstairs to look at the objects and artefacts there. It was a great introduction to art appreciation and culture.
There was so much to do and the children really enjoyed the day. They were amazingly well behaved but perhaps that is always how they are at school! On our walk from the castle we looked at the fantastic view from the castle of Nottingham to the South and East. This went down very well, particularly pointing out the Forest ground!
The last couple of times we have visited the castle before this day has been without children for the excellent Beer Festival, here is a pic taken there last year. We will definitely try to be back more often with children. They have some great Christmas events coming up too and many of them are free.
Have you been to Nottingham Castle recently?
Nottingham Castle are looking for funding to improve the already excellent facilities there. If you would like to help this cause you can sign the petition here to turn Nottingham Castle into a world class heritage tourist attraction.