Love Your Castle’ is the start of a campaign to raise awareness of both the historical and environmental value of the fortress, and a long-term strategy to invest in the interpretation and telling of the history of the site.
Jon Carter, Chief Executive of Jersey Heritage, said ‘Elizabeth Castle has stood guard to the Island’s premier maritime gateway for over 400 years and of course is now a significant visitor attraction. Yet, while it’s immensely popular with tourists, it is less visited by residents and we want Islanders to get to know it again. We are developing plans for the future and this year our open days are a chance to see behind the scenes in areas normally closed to the public that in time we would like to open up. Initially we are focusing on the Hospital block, which is a fascinating building and will act as a showcase for what we hope to achieve over the longer term.
Ed Sallis, Chair of the Jersey Heritage Trust added, ‘Elizabeth Castle is an iconic symbol of Jersey’s rich and varied past and we want to enrich the public’s understanding of its history. We are grateful and fortunate to have the total support of Murray Norton, Assistant Minister for Culture for this campaign. We collectively believe this is an opportunity for everyone to rediscover Elizabeth Castle and help us start a new chapter in its story.’
Deputy Murray Norton, Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture commented, ‘Jersey Heritage continues to provide an amazing visitor experience at Elizabeth Castle and I am delighted to be involved in the launch of this campaign. We are working in close collaboration, laying strong foundations for the longer term. I very much hope that the people of Jersey will take time to visit the castle this year, rediscover its delights and see the potential for a future that respects its past and celebrates its present.’
The campaign has a distinct look and feel and in 2017 will deliver two free public open days the first, a family fun day on 9 April and a second event in October, both sponsored by Lloyds Bank. On 6 September, an exciting new sporting event sponsored by corporate, private client and funds business Hawksford, will see teams of two runners competing in a relay race from West Park to the Parade Ground at the Castle and back. Sponsorship money raised will fund the first restoration project at the Barracks Hospital building.
The Love Your Castle Open Days will give people an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with this amazing historical site, from Living History displays and behind-the-scenes tours to just enjoying some peace and quiet in one of the many tranquil open spaces. Later in the year, with the support of law firm Ogier, local schoolchildren will be involved in a fun educational programme on site interactive learning.