Nicky Barr

Nicky Barr

Nicky Barr

Nicky Barr is the Director of the ongoing International Bomber Command Centre project on Canwick Hill in Lincoln.


In the last two years the IBCC has hosted over 20,000 people from 14 different nations on the site on free guided tours or Open Days.

This has enabled us to connect with people from all sorts of backgrounds and ages. It has included over 1,000 children who have joined us for events and learnt about Bomber Command and the project.

We have now recruited over 650 volunteers from 10 countries and they are all working hard to ensure the memories of those involved are preserved and made available for generations to come.

The construction of the site was completed in mid-December and is only awaiting the final fencing to be erected.

The IBCC has been working hard to establish relationships with a number of different organisations within the tourism sector and joined AHL, SKDC, the Petwood Hotel and Visit Lincoln at the British Travel and Tourism Show in March.

The aim is to promote the whole of the county through relationship marketing. The stand was awarded the “Innovation in Tourism” award by the Group Travel Organisation at a glitzy ceremony in London. We will be back at the event in March 2018.

The archive team have digitised over 180,000 letters, diaries, photographs and other documents, all from private collections and recorded over 800 oral history interviews with veterans, survivors of the bombings and those who from support services during the War.

This collection will become the largest free to use research repository on Bomber Command in the world, once launched in April 2018.

The doors open for the first time on the 30th January 2018 and we gently build up to the grand official opening on the 12th April which will form part of the RAF100 national commemorations.

Amongst all this positive news the team had to cope with the loss of the Chairman and inspiration behind the project, Tony Worth CVO, who cruelly passed away just seven weeks before the centre was finished.

He was an active member of the team and was determined to get the job done. A loss to both the project and the county, which he loved so much.

My New Year’s Resolution

To ensure that Tony Worth’s legacy can be the very best it can be

Nicky Barr is the Director of the ongoing International Bomber Command Centre project on Canwick Hill in Lincoln.

During the last year, the team has hosted over 8,000 people from nine different countries around the site on free guided tours. This has included involving 600 primary school children in tours or events.

We have hosted six film crews, outside of regional media, for both TV and the silver screen. We have also trained 172 of our 528 volunteers in new tasks.

Construction on the Chadwick Centre has now started and the steel frame is now in place, along with the first-floor concrete slab and the stairs.

Work has officially begun to construct the Chadwick Centre on the Canwick Hill site. Photo: IBCC

The car parks have been stripped and the sub base laid and works are now underway to put all the site drainage in place.

The steel frame has been erected at the site.

During these works we uncovered 31 Romans – a very expensive and time-consuming process.

The IBCC has been working hard to establish relationships with a number of different organisations within the tourism sector and will be joining with AHL, SKDC, the Petwood Hotel and Visit Lincoln at the British Travel and Tourism Show in March.

The aim is to promote the whole of the county through relationship marketing.

We have also been looking at specific coach programmes with the castle, cathedral and other city based heritage sites and also looking at joint ticketing offers with other sites across the county.

The archive team have digitised over 70,000 letters, diaries, photographs and other documents, all from private collections and recorded over 600 oral history interviews with veterans, survivors of the bombings and those who from support services during the War. This collection will become the largest free to use research repository on Bomber Command in the world, once launched in summer 2017.

Below is a taste of what our team have been up to in 2016.

January

February

  • Spring Ball with 10 veterans attending. The event raised over £16,000
  • Launched IBCC membership Scheme

April

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

May

  • HLF award £3.1 million for education, archive and outreach, claimable over five years

June

  • Appointed exhibition designers – Redman Design
  • Hosted Lincoln based TV and Film celebrity, Colin MacFarlane’s Making History
  • Project, Fosse Way Academy and Bomber Command veteran Terry Clague
  • Attended Lincolnshire Show and Armed Forces weekend
  • Attended Wings and Wheels Show
  • Attended RAF Waddington Families Day

July

  • Launched talent search for the Youngstars
  • The IBCC Digital Archive digitizes its 50,000th document
  • Attended Woodhall Spa 40’s weekend
  • Visited Italy creating connections with universities and museums. Recruited 8 more volunteers

August

  • Attended East Kirkby Air Show
  • Attended RAF Digby Families Day
  • Recorded “Tears of the World” with the Youngstars
  • Attended RAF Cranwell Families Day
  • Appointed RG Carters to complete phase 2 of the building works.

September

  • Took part in Lincolnshire Heritage Forum Open Week
  • Visit Lincoln, Lincoln Big and the Tourist Information Centre presented IBCC with donation
  • Held an “Afternoon Tea with Heroes” with 14 veterans and 120 guests in attendance
  • Appointed web site and app design team – Surface Impression
  • NKDC announce £200K support grant for the Hub Café

October

  • Government announces £1.5 million of LIBOR funding for the IBCC Chadwick Centre
  • Attended Lincolnshire Lancaster Association day at RAF Coningsby
  • Ground breaking ceremony as construction for the Chadwick Centre gets underway
  • Hosted 17 Tour operators for a familiarisation visit.
  • IBCC awarded 2016 Structural Steel Design Award
  • Volunteers and staff planted 6000 donated daffodil bulbs
  • Losses database grows to over 48,000 entries – these will all be available to see from next summer, on the Walls surrounding the Spire
  • Held Membership AGM
  • Attended Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire Conference

The youngsters are continuing to raise money for the project.

November

  • Hosted the Director and Head of Research of the National Archives at the IBCC site
  • Remembrance Ceremony with 120 schoolchildren from 4 local schools’ laid poppies and spent time with the 8 attending veterans.
  • Youngstars – “Tears of the World” released
  • First IBCC Open Day – 800 people visited the site.
  • Filmed a programme with Bargain Hunt – due to air April 2017
  • Hosted the Curator and Head of Research of the Luftwaffen Museum, Berlin on the site
  • Volunteer event at RAF Waddington Officers’ Mess. Over 100 volunteers from across the country attended
  • Sleaford Town Concert Band and the Lincoln Orpheus Male Voice Choir perform concert, Aspire to the Skies, in aid of IBCC
  • Youngstars hit number 1 in the physical sales charts two weeks running!

December

  • City of Lincoln Freeman’s Guild and Lincoln Concert Orchestra put on a concert at St
  • Katherine’s Cathedral to raise money for the IBCC
  • Visit to Germany creating connections with universities and museums and sourcing oral history contacts.

My New Year’s Resolution

To finally open the doors to the visitor centre at the IBCC

Nicky Barr is the Director of the ongoing International Bomber Command Centre project on Canwick Hill in Lincoln.

2015 has been a whirlwind for the International Bomber Command Centre, with two major events and an array of other elements to organise.

April saw the creation of the Bomber Command Digital Archive which is being managed by the project’s partners, the University of Lincoln. Over 20,000 items have already digitised, all from private donors, and 130 oral history interviews have been recorded. This archive will provide the background for the exhibition and education programme.

Public donations funded the construction of the spire and this was erected on the May 10. This funding also covered the costs of the construction of the first phase of the memorial walls, which now carry the names of 26,296 young men who perished whilst serving in 1 and 5 Groups, both headquartered in the county.

The Spire of Names is already towering over Lincoln.

The Spire of Names is already towering over Lincoln.

The 31m spire, now the tallest war memorial in the UK, took only 7 hours to erect. This was the first publicly visible part of the project, a proud moment!

The next task was to ensure that we could invite every living veteran to the unveiling event in October. Thanks to the help of the media the campaign got widespread coverage and over 500 new veterans made contact!

A team of volunteers got down to the task of stuffing 6,000 invitation letters for sending around the world.

On October 2, after months of hard work from a very small but passionate and dedicated team and the support of local and national businesses, the day for the unveiling dawned with clear blue skies.

The construction site had been transformed with large white tents, seating areas, plasma screens and catering units and there was a fantastic buzz as teams of IBCC and RAF volunteers helped with the final preparations ahead of the first of the 2,600 guests arriving.

The day saw 312 veterans attending, the youngest was 91 and the oldest 102, and they came from all over the world. We believe it was the single largest gathering of Bomber Boys since 1946. We were blessed with glorious weather and the 400 blankets we organised for the veterans languished in a trailer, unused.

In the words of one of the veterans “This weather isn’t luck – it’s the souls of 55,573 Bomber Boys shining down on us”.

The event was compered by TV historian, Dan Snow, and the official unveiling was carried out by the Rt Hon The Earl Howe, Minster of State in the Lords in the Ministry of Defence and featured performances from the Lincolnshire Massed Male Voice Choirs, RAF College Cranwell band and The University of Lincoln Drama Group.

Looking forward to 2016, the main drive will be to raise the outstanding funds to get the project finished. The project is already engaging with a wide range of community groups including a number of schools but the Chadwick Centre will provide all the facilities to host these groups in all weathers and provide a much deeper understanding of the story of the Command, told using the first hand testimonies of those involved.

The trust are aiming to get the centre built by summer 2017, but in order to do this need to raise a further £3.5 million. It will be a challenge but the team are ready and able to ensure that it succeeds.

My New Year’s Resolution

To secure all the funding needed to finish the IBCC.


Nicky Barr is Director at the International Bomber Command Centre.

Nicky Barr is the Director of the ongoing International Bomber Command Centre project on Canwick Hill in Lincoln.