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Celebrating our pilgrim links - County Council backs new visitor centre

02 June 2017

Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Community and Place Nottinghamshire is synonymous with major historical events, which is why the County Council has given financial backing to the new Pilgrim Visitor Centre in Retford. The centre celebrates our county’s strong links with the pilgrims who started a new life in the (then) new world of America. Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Community and Place, explains:


Nottinghamshire has always been a county synonymous with major historical events – from being the place where the English Civil War in 1646 was triggered to being home of the religious pilgrims who started a new life in the (then) new world of America.              

So it was great to hear about the new Pilgrim Visitor Centre which celebrates Nottinghamshire’s links with these pilgrim fathers. It serves as yet another reminder that what happened here in Nottinghamshire hundreds of years ago had a far-reaching impact in Britain and the rest of the world.

At the Nottinghamshire County Council we have supported the new centre by helping to fund it, as well as our new chairman, Councillor John Handley, doing the official opening over the recent spring bank holiday weekend.

The new centre based at the Retford Hub will help to promote the strong links this area has with the pilgrims and help the local community to learn more about this fascinating history and encourage more visitors to our county.

The centre tells the story of the pilgrims, who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 to found the new colony in America – and prepared the way for the rest to follow to this new world.  In 2020 it will be 400 years since these brave people set out for America

The centre uses memorabilia, informative story boards, audio, costumes and visual props to bring the story to life for visitors of all ages. 

It is a great example of a community project as many volunteers helped to construct the new visitor centre. Many local businesses have also supported the centre too.

And if you are inspired by this and are a history buff then you might also be interested in the County Council’s archives.  We hold over four million historic documents which tell the story of our wonderful county, the heritage of your communities and family history. 

The archives are based on Castle Meadow Road in Nottingham. Find out more about accessing the archives and the ongoing programme of historical-themed events being held around the county by going to or ringing 0115 958 1634.

Councillor John Cottee, Committee Chairman for Community and Place

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