The refurbishment team at J Tomlinson has helped to open a new chapter in the life of one of Nottingham’s most loved historic buildings which has become a centre of national significance.
The company played a role in the £1 million redevelopment of the former Galleries of Justice, now known as the National Justice Museum.
The former courthouse and gaol, which houses the UK’s largest collection of over 40,000 law, justice, crime, and punishment artefacts, recently underwent a transformation thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) support.
Nottingham-based J Tomlinson, which has more than 60 years’ experience of heritage project work on listed buildings, museums and historic landmark buildings, completed key parts of the redevelopment, refurbishment and redecoration.
J Tomlinson construction director Pete Woods, who heads up the refurbishment team, said: “Each refurbishment or restoration contract we undertake is unique but to be involved in a heritage project in our home city, in a venue which is so well known and well regarded locally, was an honour for the J Tomlinson team.
“Our work at the new National Justice Museum ranged from relocating a set of old heavy gallows trap doors, originally from Wandsworth prison, and a heavy protective glass cover, down two floors and setting into the floor for display purposes through to the redecoration of the stunning Victorian court room and Shire Hall, as well as the former gaol cells in the cellar and basement, and the installation of track lighting.”
It was the latest heritage refurbishment project for Beeston-based J Tomlinson, which works primarily throughout the East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire, and follows on from schemes such as the refurbishment of the 12th Century Old Grammar School in Coventry.
The National Justice Museum is not only attracting visitors from across the country, but it has also become an educational resource of national importance. It includes new areas to display a wider selection of archive items, features an increased number of interactive displays, a new crime gallery featuring free exhibitions, plus even more fun, family friendly activities.
Some of the most well-known items at the National Justice Museum include playwright Oscar Wilde’s cell door, force-feeding equipment used on Suffragettes and conscientious objectors, Great Train Robbery evidence and the dock from Bow Street Magistrates Court, which was used in notorious cases such as the trials of Oscar Wilde, Roger Casement and the Krays.
Tim Desmond, Chief Executive of the National Justice Museum, which is based on High Pavement in the Lace Market area of Nottingham, said: “The refurbishment of a Georgian Prison has to be a massive challenge for anyone and I have to say the team at J Tomlinson were excellent, working within the limitation of budget and timescales. They really have taken our museum into the 21st century and helped us become the first national museum in Nottingham.”
Jonathan Platt, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “This transformation of the National Justice Museum will allow a much wider audience to explore the fascinating history of law, justice, crime, and punishment, and will create a nationally important cultural destination for Nottingham. We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support this project.”
In addition to the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the transformation has also been made possible by support from WREN, Charles Hayward Foundation, Museum Development East Midlands, Big Lottery Fund: Awards for All, Arts Council England, Jones 1986 Charitable Trust, JN Derbyshire Charitable Trust, and the Forman Hardy Charitable Trust.
For more information about J Tomlinson, visit www.jtomlinson.co.uk