£450k funding to boost Pilgrim heritage project

This story is over

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a £450,000 grant to a project to commemorate the Pilgrims’ heritage.

The money will fund the appointment of two new roles to support heritage tourism and create learning opportunities around the Pilgrims’ story in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.

The roles will be funded for three years and include: a Heritage Engagement Officer and a Heritage Support Officer.

The Heritage Engagement Officer will visit schools and groups across the Pilgrim Roots area and will be equipped with dressing up costumes, learning boxes and lesson programmes, to increase knowledge and pride in the ownership of the Separatist part of the Mayflower story.

The Heritage Support Officer will work with tour operators and independent visitors to advise about local Pilgrim heritage sites, organise tour guides, arrange transport and hotel and restaurant facilities bookings.

The plans will also include:

  • A new Pilgrims Trail to enhance the existing trail, which marks out key Pilgrims’ heritage sites – including sites in Gainsborough at the Old Hall and the United Reformed Church.
  • New interpretation boards will also be erected at eight key sites, each with their own stories to tell. New website with information on history, ancestry, news and events.
  • A state of the art, interesting, educational and fun Pilgrims Gallery at Bassetlaw Museum in Retford.

The project will help promote and share Gainsborough’s role in the story of the Pilgrims, some of whom sailed on the Mayflower to America in 1620, and will create a lasting legacy for the area building up to the 400th anniversary of the voyage in 2020 and beyond.

The grant brings £776,000 worth of investment into the Pilgrim Roots partnership area, which includes Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

A year-long calendar of events has been planned to coincide with the Mayflower 400 commemorative year, starting with ‘Illuminate’ in November 2019 and ending with a headline ‘Illuminate’ event in 2020. The official launch of the Pilgrims Trail will take place in Summer 2019.

Other activities include:

  • The Pilgrim Roots Lecture Series,
  • The PilgrimAGE summer season of events in 2020,
  • Festivals,
  • Touring exhibitions,
  • Photography
  • Short story competitions,
  • Music and drama.

Councillor Sheila Bibb said: “We have been determined within West Lindsey District Council to recognise, share and inspire local people with the stories of the Separatists and Pilgrims – and our partnership in this significant heritage project will allow us to do that.

“We want to encourage people to visit our historic town and be able to find out more about how our history connects us to a shared history that stretches from here across England, to Holland and across to America.”