Richmond Castle: The Cell Block

This touring exhibition for English Heritage gives visitors long anticipated access to information on the Richmond Castle Cells whilst they are being conserved and therefore closed to the public. 

The cells contained conscientious objectors of the world wars who wrote songs and quotes, and drew pictures on the walls of their cells. Notable drawings recorded life and landscape during the war and even included a depiction of a fictional future war featuring spaceships!

Our exhibition design took it’s inspiration from cell doors, creating a modular framework that could expand and contract to suit it’s location and visitor demographic.

An ever-evolving interactive encourages visitors to ‘graffiti’ their own limestone wall, this will be photographed at every venue and then limewashed over (just like the actual cell walls would have been) before moving to the next location, creating an artist led response to the narrative and valuable log of the historical graffiti.

Local volunteer groups and schools were involved in co-producing the content as well as a song and a dance piece that can be viewed on a screen within the exhibition. An animation was also commissioned to show the complex reasons to why the cell walls are degrading and the steps Historic England are taking to preserve the graffiti.