For Suffolk magazine: Feature on The Guildhall in Bury St Edmunds.

Bury St Edmunds: Launch event is held for Guildhall Project

Friday, December 21, 2012
2.00 PM

A LAUNCH event has taken place for a project which aims to make a 13th-century building in Bury St Edmunds more accessible to the public.

Last week a reception was held for the Guildhall Project which gave those working on the initiative the opportunity to update people on the plans.

Michael Jackson, who is leading the project, said they wanted the Guildhall, in Guildhall Street, to be a flexible building.

“Not a museum as such. We would want to have a variety of collections moving in and out of it, including some of the collections gone into store, possibly some of the clocks from the Manor House [a former museum].”

He added how plan was also for the large rooms downstairs to be used for events and the upstairs room would be “in effect a World War II heritage site”. The upstairs room boasts a Royal Observer Corps operations room which was built as a vital part of East Anglia’s air defence in the months leading up to the outbreak of the war.

Mr Jackson said the main focus of the project currently was on obtaining Heritage Lottery funding. “We are optimistic. We have had a bid turned down twice. I think it was mainly because we couldn’t get enough of the detail together.” He said the scheme - which is expected to cost roughly between £750,000 to £800,000 - would be completed in 2016 if everything goes according to plan.