North East Connected


An 800-year-old castle in North West England that caters for corporate events will benefit from 21st century digital connectivity and internet services after a six-figure investment in new technology.

Rose Castle in Dalston near Carlisle,  has completed a five-year multi-million-pound renovation project to upgrade facilities across the 13th century building. The medieval fortress castle has been the home of the Bishops of Carlisle from 1230 until the 21st century. New owners Rose Castle Company are opening up the building for exclusive corporate and leisure event, with a strategic focus on best-in-class technology deliver a world-class digitally connected location.

A new Cisco Meraki optimised network infrastructure together with new superfast enterprise grade connectivity and high-speed cabling are part of a package of measures that have been introduced by North East technology specialist Advantex, which secured the work to ensure the site can provide access to the latest broadband services and capabilities.

A crucial achievement by the firm has been to guarantee 1GB of superfast connectivity across the 16,500 sq. ft. of the Castle as well as at various locations across the extensive grounds and gardens, to accommodate corporate events, product launches and company offsites.

Embedded within the thick stone walls are miles of cables connecting multiple Wi-Fi access points for seamless connectivity, as well as wall-mounted iPads for staff to access real time software services that underpin a state-of-the-art information system for staff, helping them to deliver the highest hospitality quality for the Castle’s customers.

The project has seen the Gateshead firm work sensitively to install superfast broadband around the Grade-I listed building, which is home to many historic books, furniture and portraits and luxurious State Drawing Room is covered in rare 18th century hand-painted Chinese wallpaper. Old-fashioned analogue telephones in guest bedrooms have also been digitally combined with modern VOIP telecoms to provide a flexible staff and guest communications system using  the best of voice-over-IP to facilitate secure and reliable video telecom services.

Rose Castle Estate is also home to the Rose Castle Foundation, a peace and reconciliation charity that helps cross deep divides, equipping leaders to disagree well. The ambition for the castle building is facilitating hosts to gather their friends and colleagues to ‘My Castle’, which is just ten minutes off the M6, much like the Bishops did for the last eight centuries.

While the Foundation gathers strangers, corporates can gather colleagues and customers using Rose Castle as their exclusive space, uninterrupted and focused. John Snyder, director of the Rose Castle Company, which owns the Castle estate, said a first-class technology spine is a crucial part of his strategy to have the best network services to ensure a location fit for 21st century corporate requirements.

He said: “Advantex’s approached our project with both altruism and passion, and a basket full of fresh ideas to deliver a corporate quality IT solution. They shaped a cost-effective tech solution around our ambitions and vision for the castle, and in particular, they have been sensitive to the conservation needs of the castle, delivering cost-effective services and products to meet our immediate 1GB bandwidth designs, but also factoring in future wireless requirements across our 60-acre site.”

Advantex, which currently employs 50 people at its Follingsby Park head office, is eyeing additional growth and expansion, targeting a £6.5 million turnover in the next 12 months as the economy continues to recover and demand for products and services remain strong.

Stephen O’Connell, sales and marketing director, said careful attention has been paid to marrying the demands of a sturdy sandstone building with advanced technology to reflect the history and ambience of Rose Castle.

He said: “This is both a very prestigious and challenging project for us; showcasing our skills and expertise in delivering and commissioning challenging and complex installations for heritage-type projects. We continue to be at the forefront of delivering advanced and high-performance services as part of integrated turnkey solutions to leading organisations not only in the North West but across the UK.”


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