Museum is no longer under wraps

WHEN last autumn's gales dislodged flints from one of Suffolk's most historic buildings experts soon uncovered more serious problems.It turned out that Moyse's Hall Museum, which is one of the earliest known buildings in Suffolk to be constructed as a family home, needed more than a simple repair job faced by most householders following high winds.

WHEN last autumn's gales dislodged flints from one of Suffolk's most historic buildings experts soon uncovered more serious problems.

It turned out that Moyse's Hall Museum, which is one of the earliest known buildings in Suffolk to be constructed as a family home, needed more than a simple repair job faced by most householders following high winds.

But the problems have now been solved and yesterdaythe plastic sheeting and scaffolding which have shrouded the building for 12 months were taken down to reveal the pristine new façade.

The gales "sucked" a hole out of the main flint wall at high level and damaged the shingles on the bell tower.


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But while repair work was being carried out, owners St Edmundsbury Borough Council carried out a survey of the medieval front wall of the museum, which revealed that the Victorians had refaced the building in the 19th century and this flint work skin had now separated from the original core.

The survey also highlighted further weather damage to the core, which meant that the complete wall had to be refaced using existing flints and traditional lime mortar had to be specially mixed to match the original.

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Archaeologists also studied the building while the reconstruction was being carried out and discovered evidence of earlier medieval work including holes where scaffolding had been.

By carefully removing layers, full records and computerised drawings of the elevations which had not been exposed for over a century have now been made.

John Cochrane, the council's building services manager, was delighted with the results of the £90,000 restoration and said the public would now be able to see the full impact of the work.

He said the museum was a consistent colour all over and looked brighter and fresher due to the traditional lime mortar used instead of the mixture including coal ash which was used by the Victorians.

Mr Cochrane said the experts tried to conserve as much of the original work as possible, around 90% of the front wall had to be re-faced. In addition, the stones surrounding the famous clock were repaired and replaced where necessary and the medieval window arches, reveals and ornate stone pillars were painstakingly cleaned and repaired.

Andrew Varley, St Edmundsbury portfolio holder for arts and culture, said he was pleased with the finished result and the building, which is thought to have been built in around 1180 for a wealthy merchant, was once again in its rightful position as one of Bury's finest.

He said: "At last the scaffolding is down and we can see Moyse's Hall restored. This beautiful ancient building, about which we now know so much more, is a vital part of our heritage and it is important that both it and the collections it contains are accessible for all of us."

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