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Walmer Castle will undergo improvements to help cement its place in history

By Eleanor Perkins

English Heritage has announced Walmer Castle will undergo a £674,000 improvements programme to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

Work is already under way to reinvent the major rooms in the 16th century castle, to reveal how they witnessed some of the country’s most significant military and political decision-making of the day.

English Heritage, which owns and manages the castle, has undertaken traditional historical research in a bid to create an engaging new experience for visitors.

English Heritage's Walmer Castle
English Heritage's Walmer Castle

The research has unearthed a long forgotten inventory from 1806, the time of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, and new techniques such as 3D printing.

For the first time since 1934, the Duke of Wellington’s room will be presented to make it an even more faithful depiction of the place where the hero of Waterloo died.

New displays will explore his career, the story of his death, the state funeral and the “celebrity” status he attained during and after his life.

Visitors will also learn the significance of William Pitt, and how he spent his time at Walmer, both improving the house and gardens and attending to his work as Prime Minister, including the organisation of the defences against invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The improvements programme will cost £674,000
The improvements programme will cost £674,000

The castle, which is a popular school trip destination especially for primary schools in Deal, will offer a new multimedia guide including a special programme for children, to enable visitors to immerse themselves in the varied and colourful stories of the castle’s history.

The guide will include fun activities to keep all the family, or class, entertained as they tour the rooms.

Another new feature set to appear is a “print room” typical of the late 18th century, which will be decorated using satirical cartoons of Pitt the Younger.

English Heritage senior historian, Paul Pattison, said: “In a quiet residential area, on the Kent coast, Walmer Castle has a surprisingly prominent place in the story of our nation.

The work will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
The work will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

“Wellington and Pitt were legends in their lifetimes and although less well remembered now, they influenced figures such as Churchill, who retains his iconic status today.

“In undertaking this major re-presentation, we hope to be able to engage our visitors in the intriguing stories of Walmer Castle, reveal its role in national historic events and help to restore its significance for many years to come.”

The new features will be launched in April 2015.

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