Six extraordinary structures made of cardboard, tape and community spirit will be created in each borough this summer in what is a cultural first for Liverpool City Region.
Lost Castles will see hundreds of volunteers work with thousands of cardboard boxes to build monumental castle-inspired structures, some of which will be based on actual medieval forts or historic structures which were in the region at one time.
Members of the public – individuals and community groups – are being urged to get involved in the event which is set to take place from Thursday 9 to Sunday 12 August*.
Anyone who signs up can help create these magical structures and then join in the fun of toppling them at the end of the weekend.
Some of the creations are expected to be as tall as 20 metres and will be located in:
Williamson Square (Liverpool)
Knowsley Safari Park
Norton Priory Museum (Halton)
Ashton Park, West Kirby (Wirral)
North Park, Bootle (Sefton)
Victoria Square, near the Town Hall (St Helens)
The concept is the brainchild of French artist Olivier Grossetȇte and is the first creative project to take place across the entire city region.
Olivier and members of his team will work with people across Merseyside at a number of free workshops which will take place in July and August – these are drop in sessions and people can get involved as much or as little as they like. Find out more by visiting www.lostcastles.co.uk.
The project has been made possible thanks to support from Arts Council England and is supported by the City Region Combined Authority, and the Global Streets Strategic Touring Programme which aims to bring the very best international outdoor art to towns and cities.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Culture should be for everyone, and that’s why I’m delighted that Arts Council England has awarded this grant for an exciting cultural project that will take place in all of the boroughs of the Liverpool City Region.
“I introduced 1% for Culture to kick start delivery of the new Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Strategy, to help unlock other funding and change the way we work together.
“Exciting engagement projects and events such as Lost Castles, which is all about telling stories at a local level, can only come about through partnerships. All of our local councils have all worked fantastically well on this and it’s great that Arts Council England has helped us to bring Lost Castles to life.
“We look forward to a strong working relationship with Arts Council England and together we can increase access to excellent arts and culture for all over the coming years.”
Jane Beardsworth, Director North, Arts Council England said: “The Lost Castles project is a great idea and a way of getting the communities of all six Liverpool City Region boroughs involved in marking the ten year anniversary of Liverpool08. I’m pleased that we have supported this endeavour through our National Lottery Project Grants and look forward to seeing how the castles materialise.”
All the cardboard will be responsibly recycled after the event.
*Please note, the timing of the build and performances will differ across the boroughs. Full build schedule and event details will be announced at a later date. Visit www.lostcastles.co.uk for the latest information.
What the boroughs have to say:
“When we announced highlights of our 2018 programme in January, Lost Castles was one of the projects that caused a stir and really piqued people’s interest. We have been keen to work with Olivier and his team for some time – not only do they produce great art, but they place the local community at its heart and ensure people are really invested in what is created which aligns with our vision.
“It’s wonderful that this event will touch all corners of the city region – it’s a real partnership approach with the aim of involving as many people as possible who can tap into their creativity, unleash their inner child and work together to create amazing art and unforgettable memories.”
Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon
“We are delighted to be part of the Lost Castles project across Merseyside and to see Miller’s Castle recreated will be an incredible sight. Not many people are aware that Bootle had its very own castle of course.
“In 1824 an enterprising businessman called William Miller was able to build a huge castle on the shoreline, aptly named Miller’s Castle. The castle was demolished in the 1860s to make room for the ever expanding Bootle docks and a nearby road, Miller’s Bridge, was named in his honour.
“Now Miller’s Castle is set to awe and impress residents and visitors once more when it is recreated in cardboard form at North Park. It will be a magical venue for a series of community events and performances. Once it’s all over, Miller’s Castle will be responsibly recycled, making it artwork that’s also environmentally-friendly.”
Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, Councillor Trish Hardy
“Lost Castles is a fantastic example of how the six boroughs of Liverpool City Region are working together to enrich our communities. We’re proud to be part of this ambitious project which, as well as being a great cultural experience, will bring people together as they join forces to build these incredible creations.
“Wirral’s ‘lost castle’ is about celebrating the borough’s unique Viking history and Norse connections – the area is thought to have been almost a Viking state in its own right with its own borders, customs, trading point and language. We want residents and visitors to be able to explore how these shipbuilding ancestors might have lived, worked and worshipped by creating an impressive Viking stave church in Ashton Park at the heart of West Kirby, Norse for ‘the West Village of the Church’. During the weekend, it will be a spectacular backdrop for family activities, led by real-life Vikings!”
Wirral Council leader, Phil Davies
“For almost four hundred years the small town of Prescot in Knowsley held a secret. It was the only place in England, outside of London, to have a freestanding purpose-built Elizabethan theatre! Across the way, at Knowsley Hall, Lord Strange (Ferdinando Stanley, later fifth Earl of Derby) was patron to an acting company called Lord Strange’s Men. Strange’s Men was the precursor to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare’s company at The Globe and is known to have performed at Knowsley Hall. Knowsley’s Lost Castle will celebrate this fascinating history by creating Elsinore, the castle from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. We are delighted to be part of this exciting Liverpool City Region project that captures imaginations and shines the light on the wonderful history and heritage from across the region. It’s a great opportunity for people to get actively involved in something creative that will stay in people’s memories for years to come.”
“Given Knowsley’s fascinating links with Shakespeare and the new Shakespeare North Playhouse coming to Prescot, this exciting project will be a further celebration of how the work of the Bard continues to inspire and influence people today.”
Leader of Knowsley Council, Councillor Graham Morgan
“We are pleased to be involved in this successful bid and to now be partnering with our neighbours in the delivery of this imaginative community heritage project. Lost Castles promises to deliver some visually stunning public art but, crucially, will engage many volunteers from our local area in a project that will echo an important piece of Halton’s heritage. It is difficult to imagine the original size and significance of Halton Castle but the scale of Lost Castles will certainly emulate its medieval power for a few days this summer. This may also prompt visitors from across the region to experience more of Halton’s heritage and perhaps take in some of the events which re-enact periods of its long and sometimes turbulent history. Enjoy!”
Halton Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Heritage and Visitor Economy, Councillor Eddie Jones
“This year we’re celebrating 150 years since the formation of St Helens, with an exciting programme of cultural events happening across the borough, and we’re thrilled to be supporting the Lost Castles project locally. We’ve made a thriving arts and culture scene a real priority going forward, and as the Liverpool City Region’s seminal Borough of Culture, we’re building – this time literally – upon our already great foundations.
“This type of cultural event is one that communities will be talking about for years to come. Heritage is a big part of what we’re doing for St Helens 150, and a key element of this is our historic partnership with the German town of Stuttgart. The twinning St Helens and Stuttgart was the first such arrangement in Europe following World War II. Among other events, including our International Food and Drink Festival (6-7 July), we will pay homage to this partnership by building in cardboard part of Stuttgart’s iconic 10th Century Old Castle on Victoria Square.” St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Better Health and Building Arts and Culture, Councillor Gill Neal