Research student helps reopen Lincoln Castles longclosed prison

Work by a PhD student that will bring a Victorian Prison back to life has received a royal seal of approval.

On Monday 8 June, HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the new-look Lincoln Castle, which includes the David PJ Ross Magna Carta Vault, a new home for Lincoln Cathedral's copy of the historic document. While there she met key staff who worked on the design of the new visitor experience.

Among the staff who met The Princess Royal was Helen Bates (pictured), a PhD student from the School of History. Helen was responsible for researching the content for the new interpretation of the Castle’s Victorian prison - closed to the public for decades - working with the exhibition designers and filmmakers to develop stories based on the archival material about the lives of the prisoners and staff that had lived in the Castle Prison.

Her research at Leicester, which is supervised by Professor Roey Sweet, focuses on the Boughton House estate in Northamptonshire, home to the current Duke of Buccleuch. The Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust are a charity which now looks after Boughton House and are supporting Helen’s AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA).  The period she is focusing on is the first half of the eighteenth century, specifically the 2nd Duke of Montagu.

Helen during the parade at Lincoln Castle.

L-R: Susan Payne, Castle researcher; Lorraine Heyes, Castle script writer; Helen Bates.