An experienced heritage building conservation project manager and historian has been appointed to run and develop a major tourist destination in Coventry.
Nic Fulcher has joined No Ordinary Hospitality Management (NOHM) as Heritage and Venue Manager at the historic St Mary’s Guildhall following its £5.6 million restoration.
He will be responsible for devising and co-ordinating a programme of events, public and private tours, special talks and a programme of community engagement from primary school children through to adult learners.
Fulcher was the Projects Manager at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013, and oversaw the redevelopment of New Place, the site of William Shakespeare’s former family home, as a sculpture garden.
Earlier in his career he was responsible for the preservation and conservation of the buildings and significant collections of furniture, textiles and documents as well as decorative and fine art at Leeds Castle in Kent
St Mary’s Guildhall is undergoing a major redevelopment, funded through the Cultural Capital Investment Fund, which is resourced from Coventry City Council, Arts Council England, and the Government’s Getting Building Fund through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has also provided both capital and additional revenue funding to support three years of activities and events for schools, communities and families to engage both new and existing audiences with the history of St Mary’s Guildhall.
The Guildhall is home of the significant Coventry Tapestry, Mary Queen of Scots was held there in 1569, and the building miraculously survived the blitz of 1940 which devastated much of the city centre. The works at St Mary’s Guildhall include improvements to the display and interpretation of the tapestry, and significantly enhancing the visitor experience with the installation of two lifts for increased accessibility.
No Ordinary Hospitality runs Coombe Abbey Hotel and Park, a 12th century former Cistercian Abbey just outside Coventry. This year has also taken on the management of six restored historic cottages for Historic Coventry Trust providing boutique holiday accommodation, including a former Medieval Gatehouse, within the city centre.
Fulcher, a University of Warwick graduate, studied for a Masters in English and European Renaissance History, following a degree in English and Theatre.
He said: “I am delighted to be working with No Ordinary Hospitality Management on this incredibly exciting project. The company is establishing a strong reputation for managing a growing number of unique historic buildings and it will be an honour to tell the spellbinding story of St Mary’s Guildhall.
“One of the most interesting features of St Mary’s Guildhall is its longevity and colourful history. From its establishment to the War of the Roses when Coventry was declared the Capital of England, through to becoming a Victorian soup kitchen and its remarkable survival of the Second World War bombings.
“The building – established for community use – is something of a hidden gem, sandwiched between the council offices and the original Cathedral ruins in the historic centre of the city with its entrance in Bayley Lane.
“It is really important for any visitor to experience history in the buildings where it actually happened.
“Not only does St Mary’s Guildhall provide a wonderful learning opportunity and access into medieval history, but the rare chance to see the Coventry Tapestry – a significant textile – in the actual space it was made for.
“Part of the restoration work has involved removing the 1950s/60s kitchens to reveal the original medieval fireplace with Victorian tiling, illustrating its continued use over time.”
Ron Terry, Operations Director of No Ordinary Hospitality, said: “We are thrilled at Nic’s appointment. His passion for history, heritage and storytelling is infectious.
“This significant £5.6million investment and three new appointments will not only make a lasting difference to Coventry and the UK’s wider heritage, but will also use culture and educational resources to inspire young people, communities within the city, and visitors from further afield to learn more about the history and heritage of such a fantastic space for generations to come.”
Cllr David Welsh, whose Cabinet portfolio includes Arts and Heritage in the city, added: “I visited St Mary’s Guildhall recently and was astounded by the transformation; I’m really looking forward to seeing it once the work is complete.
“The appointment by No Ordinary Hospitality Management will give them the opportunity to make the Guildhall the attraction it should be, bringing the amazing history of the building alive for visitors to enjoy.
“The redevelopment of the hall is one of more than a dozen great cultural capital projects that are being achieved through more than £40m of external funding.”