Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Guildhall Project

Yesterday we visited the Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds, with a group from the Bury Heritage Guides.

There are plans to make the Guildhall into a new Heritage Venue, and we had the opportunity to look around with Matthew Champion, the project manager.

It had been assumed that the Guildhall dated back to around 1250 but after recent surveys for the new project it is now believed to be even older, possibly 1180. The Guildhall is thought to be the oldest civic building in England. At the front of the building, is covered with brick work which covers the original flint structure. At the rear the flint banding is clearly visible and apparently there are several churches in the area which were built in the same manner leading the experts to think the building now dates from the 12th century. In the rear courtyard is the Tudor kitchen, which had been thought to have been rebuilt in later times, but after close inspection much of the original building is still intact along with the covered corridor from the kitchen through into the main banqueting room.

Upstairs where the scouts currently have their shop, is the Royal Observer Corps 'Ops Room'. This has remained unchanged since its decommissioning in the 1950's. It is hoped to replace the furniture as it was used during the war. Several people have already come forward who worked there including the carpenter who installed the raised balcony area above the 'ops' table.

A very interesting visit.

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