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Unique chance to learn more about the historic Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 11:47 07 November 2017

The Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds

The Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds

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Visitors and residents in Bury St Edmunds will have a unique opportunity to learn more about the town’s latest attraction this month, ahead of its official opening next summer.

The Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds. The Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds.

The Guildhall, in Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds is Britain’s oldest continually used civic building with a history that spans more than 800 years.

Next year it will open as a brand new heritage centre, hosting activities, events, workshops and exhibitions that tell the untold story of Bury St Edmunds.

It is envisaged that the centre will be used to host art exhibitions, music and theatre workshops, that it will be available as a wedding venue, a teaching resource, while a Tudor knot historic herb garden is being re-imagined as a sensory garden where summer events and evening performances will also take place.

There is a chance to meet the team and see some of the works underway during the Christmas Fayre weekend when the Guildhall will open its doors to the public.

An artist's impression of the court room, at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds An artist's impression of the court room, at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds

Following that, starting on December 4, there will be an exhibition at the Apex of some of the paintings from the Guildhall while they are being stored or restored off-site.

James Mellish, project manager for the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust which is running the project, said: “We are very excited about this new visitor attraction, so excited in fact that we want to open the doors early and show people some of what is coming. So we are opening The Guildhall during the weekend of the Christmas Fayre (November 25 to 26, noon to 4pm each day) to offer a sneak preview ahead of the official opening next summer.”

The Guildhall project is supported by St Edmundsbury Borough Council which, in its current and previous guises, has managed The Guildhall since 1894.

Next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting will be asked to approve an application to the Charity Commission to transfer that role to the Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust after its reopening.

An artist's impression of the operation's room at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds An artist's impression of the operation's room at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds

Joanna Rayner, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “The Guildhall has a wonderful history as one of the oldest buildings in the town and I can’t wait to have a glimpse at the vision that is taking shape there. Once finished this will be a building that the whole community can use, as well as complementing the fabulous mix of leisure and heritage activities that we have in the town.”

The Guildhall Project is supported by £669,000 of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Fundraising for the project is continuing and is currently £220,000 short of its £1.79 million target.

You can donate, volunteer and find out more about The Guildhall Project at http://burystedmundsguildhall.org.uk

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