See Bury’s Unitarian Meeting House’s 18th century makeover

The Unitarian Meeting House on Churchgate Street in Bury. ENGANL00120121023145006
The Unitarian Meeting House on Churchgate Street in Bury. ENGANL00120121023145006
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When you repaint a 300 year old Grade I listed building you do not roll on any cheap emulsion, as the Unitarian Meeting House’s management know.

The 1711 meeting house was Bury St Edmunds’ first red brick public building, so repainting has taken months of expensive work, requiring special licences and protective clothing.

But when it holds an open afternoon to show off the ‘makeover’ next Friday, from noon to 6pm, people will be able to see it almost as it did in the 18th century, including its original 1711 gallery with numbered pews.

Marian Shaw, its lettings secretary, said: “The whole of the exterior, and some of the interior had to be painted with lead paint.

“Now banned for anything but very special, permitted projects, this very expensive work can be done only by registered decorators who have to acquire a specific licence for the task and wear special protective clothing.”

It took Martin Chapple and Sons five weeks to prepare the interior walls and brush paint them with lime-based distemper while doors were painted with flat oil-based paint. Colours were mixed to be as close as possible to 1711 originals.

Marian added: “This unique and beautiful building now is begging to be seen and used.”