This model shows how Clifford’s Tower would look with a new roof and visitor centre

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Architect Hugh Broughton with a model of how Clifford's Tower would look. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Architect Hugh Broughton with a model of how Clifford’s Tower would look. Photographs: Richard McDougall

After the artist’s impression received a markedly mixed reception online, how would people react to a 3D model of the new-look Clifford’s Tower?

That was the big question at a drop-in public meeting on Thursday (January 21) when the model went on display for the first time.

The proposed upgrade – revealed on Monday – includes a new visitor centre at the foot of the grassy mound.

Also in the plans are a partial timber roof to protect the ancient monument, plus a new walkway to “provide fantastic viewing and activity space at roof level”.

The drop in session, held at the National Centre for Early Music on Walmgate, had attracted a lot of interest, a spokesperson for English Heritage said.

A close-up view showing how the visitor centre would be incorporated into the motte
A close-up view showing how the visitor centre would be incorporated into the motte
A look at the new roof and walkway
A look at the new roof and walkway

While much of the initial response online has been less than positive, people who came to see the model were more enthusiastic, particularly about the roof and walkway she added.

Hugh Broughton, the architect who drew up the plans, described Clifford’s Tower as “an incredibly iconic beauty with such historic value”.

But he said change was needed. “We found most people have said that once they get inside the tower, they find it underwhelming.”

The controversial visitor centre is designed to reveal the tower’s 19th century wall, buried since 1935.

So has the model won you over?
So has the model won you over?

He agreed that the plans might be viewed as shocking – but change was needed “to ensure the long term survival of the monument”.

“We want the building to be distilled down to as little as possible: something strong and firm. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Chloe Gaughan

Chloe Gaughan

Chloe Gaughan is a third year English Literature and Linguistics student writing her dissertation on the modernisation of gothic fairy tale films. She plans to travel Europe in a renovated VW campervan, tasting the food of the world with her boyfriend Tom

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