A centre for cultural learning at an iconic Lincolnshire landmark

PLB was called upon to develop a National Lottery funded project, telling the story ‘A Passion for People’, at one of the country’s most iconic churches.

St Botolph’s Church in Boston, with one of the tallest medieval towers in the UK, has been known as Boston Stump since it was constructed. The custodians of this Grade I Listed building wanted to reimagine it as a centre for cultural learning, heritage interpretation and a place of welcome and hospitality.

Our extensive experience within scheduled monuments, historic buildings and live visitor environments ensured we were the perfect partner.

Bringing the story to life

This project aimed to further enhance the affection local people have for Boston Stump, as well as engaging with visitors to the region.

Objectives included repairing the structure of the building, improving its environment, and preserving and interpreting the church’s heritage. In addition, the custodians wanted to connect with communities and tourists, and develop a volunteer and local training programme.

Our works included:

  • Interpretive planning, to develop the themes, history and stories that the church wanted to convey to visitors
  • Creative scheme design and visitor orientation, to create new ways to use the spaces and improve visitor circulation
  • Graphic design and artworking, to bring together all the visual elements and create a cohesive identity for the building and surroundings
  • Audio visual development, to immerse visitors in the atmosphere, spark imaginations and build connections
  • Exhibition specification and showcase production, to present items clearly, securely and appropriately, conveying the story of Boston Stump in meaningful ways and sparking the imagination of visitors
  • Production specification and project management, to ensure everything ran smoothly and went according to plan
  • Site supervision and contractor management, to ensure all aspects of the project were delivered on time, to spec and within budget

During the Medieval period, Boston was a boom town. St Botolph’s Church is the widest parish church in England, the tallest to roof, and also one of the largest by floor area. We made sure our interpretation and design captured the majesty of this building.

From a welcome desk and prominent exhibition displays, to a large labyrinth, our interpretation focuses on the circumstances that allowed this church to be built so large. Across a series of specially commissioned digital interactives, we were able to unlock many of the incredible stories the church holds with its walls.

Building a story of cohesion and social inclusion

Our approach to interpretation was centred around encouraging inclusion and social cohesion. We achieved this through historic and contemporary accounts of the broad spectrum of people who have travelled to or from Boston’s town and church. This includes the story of John Cotton, who led the Puritan pilgrims on the Mayflower to establish Boston in America.

The project has increased visitor numbers, engaged tourists, and promoted Boston’s heritage to an international audience. Why not go along and see for yourself? St Botolph’s is open seven days a week and welcomes everyone, including animals.

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