Whittington Castle is an historic landmark which has welcomed the public through its doors free of charge for generations but is now facing imminent and permanent closure - thanks to the Corona virus. The voluntary and unpaid trustees of Whittington Castle, a 13th century border fortress visited annually by thousands of tourists and locals and an increasingly popular venue for major historical re-enactments, have issued a stark warning.
With its entire revenue axed to zero as a result of lockdown, plans are already afoot to seal the castle and its grounds to the public, posing a risk it will never re-open, unless funds can be raised to rescue it.
Chairman of the Trustees of the moated castle and its landscaped parkland, Jonjo Evans, explained: "I have a sinking feeling we are going down for good this time, after years of financial problems and this is tragic given that we started the new year with light at the end of a long tunnel.
For years now the Castle has been treading a financial tightrope, with no external funding whatever, relying on our tea room and car park for a regular modest income to pay wages. With free admission, we are heavily dependent on events such as weddings, re-enactments of landmarks in history and other popular activities to help cover the huge annual cost of keeping the place going. As a rule we do well to break even. People see the castle always bubbling with activity and life, swarming with tourists and assume finances are ticking over nicely. They should see the books.
Our public liability and other insurance, for instance, cost more than £1,000 a month, so the maximum £10,000 grant we received from the Exchequer as a result of Corona virus will be gone on that and other running costs such as utility bills and other recurring and unavoidable overheads by the end of the summer. Long before that happens, leaving us in effect uninsured and with nothing left in the bank, we will need to take steps to seal the site off to stop people sneaking in. The law requires this and it is a bleak prospect.
The gatehouse will still be visible from the road, but the moat bridge, along with the road approach to the rest of the castle and its grounds will have to be barricaded and in the absence of an injection of funds I can't see any of it re-opening when the crisis is over. We need capital now to keep going and at the very least make the small improvements from we had planned to do from the income."
- Ali Humphreys
- James Saunders
- Estella Scholes
Fundraising team (5)
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more