Dudley Zoo to have name in lights for Heritage Open Day

Dudley’s famous zoo will have its name in lights in time for this year’s heritage open day after receiving a slice of council funding.

The iconic Grade II* listed Tecton entrance at Dudley Zoo and Castle has been upgraded with the new feature lighting thanks to £50,000 of the Towns Fund accelerator grant awarded to Dudley Council to improve the street scene along Castle Hill as part of the town’s major regeneration plans.

The lights have been sympathetically designed to illuminate the architectural significance of this iconic 20th century structure and complement the feature lighting scheme that was installed on a number of historic buildings in the town centre in 2017.

The lights will be switched on the for the first time on Friday September 10 to coincide with the launch of the national heritage open days initiative, which is a national event, running this year from September 10 to 19.

To support the heritage open day initiative, Dudley Zoo and Castle will be allowing free entry to Dudley Castle, located in the heart of the 40-acre site, on Thursday September 16 and Friday September 17 from 3.30 to 7.30pm. Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

"Dudley Zoo and Castle is one of the town’s greatest assets and I’m delighted we’ve been able to invest a slice of the Towns Fund accelerator money to put its iconic entrance in lights.

"The investment, along with the other improvements along Castle Hill and in the town centre, will complement our major regeneration programme and breathe new life into this area, which will remain one of the main links between the town centre and the new developments taking place."

People will be able to learn more about the history of the town’s 11th century castle, take a look around the cobbled courtyard, tour the indoor Castle Creatures exhibit and climb the castle keep. Although the event is free, places must be pre-booked at dudleyzoo.org.uk. There will be no access to the zoo.

People interested in finding out more about the town’s other historical buildings can also take virtual tours of Dudley Town Hall, Dudley Council House, Dudley Coroners Court, the old police buildings as well and St Thomas’s & St Luke’s (Top church) and St Edmunds (Bottom church) to mark heritage open day. Derek Grove, director at Dudley Zoological Gardens, said:

"I’m delighted that further funding has been made available to reveal the significance of this important Tecton Structure, one of twelve located within the grounds of the zoo. This project builds upon the investment that has been made by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Getty Foundation.

"Furthermore, it will enable the zoo to participate in the celebration of national events. Whilst most of the time it will be a natural white light we have the ability to change the colours, so for Armistice day for example we will be able to change the colours to red."

The virtual tours have been organised by Dudley Council and can be viewed at dudleyheritageopendays.org.uk.


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