Robin Hood's Men Meet Maid Maria
Graham has organised a meeting with the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Maria Miller with himself and Ted Cantle (Nottingham former Chief Executive who is co-ordinating the plans)to go through the proposals to give Robin Hood the profile he deserves in Nottingham and the UK.
Graham said "We criminally under-exploit our global brand of Robin Hood and I’m delighted that Nottingham is coming forward with some excellent proposals to put that right, including upgrading and restoring Nottingham Castle, it’s views and approaches, transport links and tourist attractions. Most cities in Britain would kill for such a well known historical figure as their trademark. The spin-off in tourism, jobs and culture will be enormous. I hope that the government will join with myself, Ted and all the other local and national organisations in putting their weight behind this effort".
Please see below an article Graham wrote for the Nottingham Evening Post on how Nottingham can use the Robin Hood brand.
NOW is the time Nottingham must pitch for a new vision for the city and capitalise on our internationally renowned Robin Hood brand. We are proud of our history, particularly in terms of the thousand- year-old Nottingham Castle and the legend of Robin Hood. Everybody from Beijing to Los Angeles knows our city and now is the time to renew the brand.
Neighbouring cities would kill for such instant and warm worldwide recognition; yet we have used it poorly and for years had a Hood-less logo.
For some reason we have always been coy or embarrassed about Robin Hood; those days must be put behind us. We should use our unique selling points to stand out from the crowd. We need to take six serious steps to sell our legend and our city:
The first opportunity should come by freeing up the further education site beneath the landmark castle rock . It should be used for a Jorvik-style village, a realistic and educational representation of medieval times, perhaps shared with the University of Nottingham’s top rated Medieval studies department.
The castle should have one of its ancient walls rebuilt to look exactly as it would have in its prime, 600 years ago when Parliament sat in Nottingham. This would create an eye-catching profile on the skyline as visitors approach our city by road and rail, dispensing forever with the let-down tourists currently feel. The stone blocks in the new wall – and I'll buy the first one – could be sponsored by the many people around the world who flock to our city and would relish the chance to be a part of our history.
A three-county project should be started around Kegworth to create a fully-fledged Robin Hood theme park at the unique confluence of our international airport, the UK's main arterial motorway, and a renamed Robin Hood railway station.
All of us should share the goal of Nottingham being the UK's second international tourist destination, always packaged with London. The recession-busting spin-off for jobs, business, shopping, and local prosperity would be incalculable.
Nottingham should build the country's, and the world's premier archery venue, with our Sheriff presenting the Golden Arrow annually to the world's finest archer.
The stunning Aspire artwork tower at the university should be the first of several mega sculptures circling our city. They should be linked nightly by a laser arrow fired from our own “Angel of the North”, perhaps the “Legend of the woods “a giant Robin Hood or perhaps an enormous steel and neon bow set as a centre piece of a much needed development on the disused goods yard off London Road in the City Centre.
I challenge the moaners and the naysayers not to come up with their usual dozen reasons to say "no" but to add one bright idea of their own. For example, use the side of the Council offices next to the railway station for a fifty foot silhouette of Robin welcoming rail passengers to our City.
Of course we should tie our Civil war heritage into this renaissance. Our Civil war began in Nottingham, the King raised his standard here. Cromwell and Charles 1 ( in statue form) should stare at each other across the round seating area in the rotunda on Standard hill [why not use this for dramas and re-enactments] and their respective standards should always fly on site.
Our imagination and drive are the only limits to our ambition. If the public and private players in our great city [aided by international investors] will it, we can create the partnerships to make it happen. Nottingham has shown it has great resilience, fighting back from tough times to a position where it is thriving and widely respected once again.
We should not hope that things can happen over the next two or three decades, we should make them happen. That way we will use our rich history as the trigger to build an exciting future.
Graham Allen MP