An innovative project to bring Bury St Edmunds’ Guildhall back to life and celebrate its history has received a £669,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This is on top of the £500,000 already identified by leaders of the Guildhall Heritage Centre Project and they now need to raise another £330,000 by October so work can start on the revamp.
The £1.5 million development of the Guildhall - believed to be the oldest civic building in England - will transform its main rooms into galleries to tell the history of the building.
The rooms will also be able to host a variety of events and activities as well as a series of exhibitions enhanced by live re-enactor performances and digital technology. Upstairs the former 19th Century council chamber will be shown as a Second World War Operations Room which it became in 1939. Other works include a new kitchen, repairs to the back roof and strengthening and restoring some of the ancient fabric of the building.
The Bury St Edmunds Heritage Trust has been working on the project with the Guildhall Feoffment and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
John Griffiths, leader of the council, said: “This is such an exciting and worthwhile project which will not only capture the history of the Guildhall throughout the ages, but also gives this wonderful, ancient building a new and modern use.” He thanked project director Mike Jackson and all those involved.
They aim to open the centre by July 2018.
On Thursday (May 19), the borough’s mayor making ceremony will start with a procession from the Guildhall. Anyone who can support the project can email email@example.com