Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Grand Opening of the Robin Hood Legacy (Bank Holiday Monday the 29th of August 2016 Nottingham)


On a bright, warm summer day and a Bank Holiday at that, I paid a visit to Nottingham to attend the Official or Grand Opening of the Robin Hood Legacy. My attendance was arranged as a personal invitation of the manager, resident Robin and local author (Amazon link below), Adam Greenwood.

The Robin Hood Legacy had opened some weeks before but the official opening was arranged to coincide with the Summer Holidays and the diary of a VIP guest. In actual fact, the opening was to be attended by more than one VIP.

The Robin Hood Legacy is situated in a smart Georgian three storey building on Friar Gate in Nottingham, placed perfectly at the Castle end of that street. The entrance to Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery is clearly visible from the Legacy, the famous Robin Hood statue is just around the corner. The Legacy is therefore ideally situated to complement these established tourist attractions and offer even greater choice for the visiting tourist.

The Legacy consists of a series of rooms that form a cohesive presentation of one variant of the Robin Hood legend. In each room there are costumed mannequins depicting relevant scenes and one mannequin in each room talks. This is achieved by having a hidden projector directed onto the face, this gives the appearance of movement and expression, whilst synchronised to the audio track.

I arrived promptly to have my usual look around and to meet the other guests. I was very pleased to see that so many local enthusiasts and local actors had agreed to attend. These supporters were all in costume and truly added to the general festive atmosphere. Never before had I seen so many ‘Robin Hoods’ gathered together in one place and this coined a new collective noun. It was decided that in future we shall refer to such a gathering as a quiver of Robin Hoods. Amongst those gathered was something of a VIP, the noted Robin Hood authority, historian, well known actor, stuntman, public speaker and combat instructor, the ever pleasing Tony Rotherham. Today he was accompanied by his new Marianne, Miss Grace Eden.

I am fortunate in having some peripheral involvement with the Robin Hood Legacy, this based upon my own esoteric interest in the legends. I am the author of papers on the subject, now collected together to form a monograph; ‘The Pagan Symbolism of the Sherwood Legends.’ The monograph is available direct (a link to my Etsy page is below) and is on sale in the shop of the Legacy itself. The cover photograph of the Legacy edition features Adam Greenwood in his guise as Robin. Marry, I am pleased to say that the Legacy uses several examples of my photography in the publicity material and as assorted souvenirs, such as postcards and fridge magnets.

A press photographer from the local paper arrived to take a few stills and to talk to those attending. Unfortunately he was unable to stay for the arrival of the VIP guest and I was asked to take over as official photographer for the afternoon. I was pleased to step into the breach so to speak.

Later that afternoon our main VIP guest arrived, Councillor Jackie Morris the serving Sheriff of Nottingham, ably supported by her husband the Reverend Andrew Morris. Dressed in black and gold the serving Sheriff met Simon McCrackle, he playing the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, was also dressed in the black and gold. The photo-opportunities of having the two pose together were simply too good to miss.

We were able to take full advantage of the beautiful weather, even if the light was a little strong for photography. Gathering all the costumed attendees with both our VIP’s and the owner of the Robin Hood Legacy, David Ward.

David has been something of a fan of Robin Hood and the associated legends since he was a child. His creation of the Robin Hood Legacy is a dream come true, a replacement perhaps of the Tales of Robin Hood, whose closure is still mourned by many. For David, the opening of the Legacy is the pinnacle of his hopes, representing his desired wish to see once more, Robin Hood at the centre of Nottingham.

Since this was the Robin Hood Legacy and the period of the tour is set at some ill-defined point in the Medieval Ages, it was natural that Councillor Morris should cut the ribbon with something rather more befitting than a modern pair of scissors. Adam Greenwood in his guise of Robin Hood graciously lent the Sheriff of Nottingham his own dagger, a rather large and very bright-bladed medieval replica.

We then as a group joined David inside the Legacy for a glass of wine and sustenance, before Councillor Morris was given her own private tour of the visitor attraction. We then set off as a group to the Robin Hood statue for more publicity stills, taking full advantage of the light.

Around the statue the quiver of Robin Hoods, the two Sheriffs and at least two Mariannes (we have yet to find a collective noun for multiple Maid Marions) posed with several members of the public before we set off once more towards the Legacy. On our way back Councillor Morris decided to call at the Nottingham Society of Artists, a small art gallery directly opposite the Legacy itself. I followed with my camera.

Councillor Morris fully understands her role as the Sheriff of Nottingham and knows precisely, how to play the game. Highly professional and extraordinarily easy to get along with, I warmed to her very quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. The Sheriff is fully aware that the position of Sheriff itself, adds enormous prestige to any event, business or activity by either physical presence or patronage.

On entering the gallery, Councillor Morris continued to present herself with impeccable style, talking to the gallery owner, viewing exhibits and posing once more for photographs. At the time of the Grand Opening, the Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery were host to ten sketches from the Royal Collection. To compliment this major exhibition, the gallery was hosting several events with Leonardo da Vinci as a theme. Included in the exhibition was a sketch of Saint Anne and this sketch was a major feature of the gallery events. On the day we visited a model was sitting as Saint Anne and many contemporary sketches adorned the walls.

Returning to the Legacy it was time to say goodbye to Councillor and Reverend Morris, after what had without doubt, been a very enjoyable afternoon. Stepping indoors I met up with Tony Rotherham and Grace Eden to take a walk around the attraction. This gave me the opportunity to see a major attraction upstairs, that few at that time knew had joined the Legacy. In one of the larger rooms, on display amongst the mannequins is the costume of Herne the Hunter himself.

This costume is not a replica but the actual true costume used in the TV series Robin of Sherwood, which ran from 1982 to 1984 on ITV. The Herne the Hunter costume remains the property of Goldcrest Films and is graciously on loan to the Robin Hood Legacy. The prop is of great significance and holds an important place within the history of British television. Today, Robin of Sherwood remains a fondly remembered programme and has spawned numerous fan clubs throughout the world.

Although the afternoon was drawing on, the weather was still excellent, so Tony Rotherham and Grace Eden decided to take a ‘PR’ walk through Nottingham. Dr Rotherham like Councillor Morris, knows how to play the ‘game.’ Our first port of call was the Robin Hood statue and joined by the Wicked Sheriff of Nottingham, they posed for pictures with the tourists.

Retracing our steps we decided to end our tour with a visit to the market place and here, between Larry and Rodney (the marketplace lions), Tony and Grace delighted tourists once more and then our most famous outlaw, was ‘arrested’ by five police constables. It was noted that he did not resist arrest.

So ended a fine day, delightful in its company and the activities. Details of the opening hours of the Robin Hood Legacy and the admission prices can be found below. The Legacy itself continues to grow and the manager Mr Greenwood, is together with those other actors playing the part of the famous outlaw, contributing in maintaining Robin Hood’s place at the centre of the consciousness of the Nottingham people and further afield.


The works of Adam Greenwood

Chattering Magpie (Etsy)

Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition Nottingham 2016

The Nottingham Society of Artists (webpage)

The Nottingham Society of Artists (Facebook)

Robin Hood Legacy (Facebook)

Robin Hood Legacy (webpage)

Robin Hood: the man the myth by Tony Rotherham Nottingham Empyrean 1st October 2014

The Summer Solstice

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