Historic Suffolk building opens doors after £2million restoration
An iconic Bury St Edmunds building officially threw open its doors to the public at the weekend to celebrate the completion of a £2million restoration project.
The town’s Guildhall – which dates back to 1279 – is the oldest continuously-used building in the UK and also boasts a World War Two Observer Corps Control Centre - the only surviving room of its kind in the world.
Two open days were held on Saturday and Sunday to give the community a taste of things to come at the town’s newest visitor attraction, and to thank those who supported the project.
The building received a full refurbishment following work by the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust to raise the money needed through grants and donations.
Suzanne Stevenson, manager of the Guildhall, said: “It has been a long journey but it is fantastic to open the doors of the Guildhall once again.
“I know there is an incredible feeling of achievement and satisfaction from everyone who has been involved.
“I was really pleased to see so many people, of all ages, visit this weekend, having fun and interacting with the centre. I would like to thank everyone for their support.
“We have an incredible array of events coming up at the Guildhall over the summer with something for everyone.”
Robert Lamb, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust Guildhall Project, said: “This has been an incredible journey. To be at this stage, where we have redeveloped the entire site and brought it all to life, is quite unbelievable.
“The Guildhall is a hidden gem for the east of England and this has been made possible thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of so many – from all our volunteers to our manager – Suzanne Stevenson.”
Jo Churchill, Bury St Edmunds MP, who attended on Saturday, said: “I was delighted to come to the Guildhall when the building work first started and it is quite inspirational to now see what has been achieved.
“Seeing a project of this scale brought to life is quite phenomenal and I would like to congratulate everyone involved for creating such a wonderful heritage centre and venue.”
Margaret Marks, mayor of St Edmundsbury, said: “I think everyone involved in this project has done a magnificent job. They have still maintained the character and integrity of the building while creating this fantastic heritage centre and event space.”
For more information on the Guildhall and upcoming events, visit www.burystedmundsguildhall.org.uk