Stowmarket: John Peel arts centre to begin history project into former Corn Exchange building

Newton Faulkner at the John Peel Centre *** Local Caption *** Tony Bell Photography

Newton Faulkner at the John Peel Centre *** Local Caption *** Tony Bell Photography - Credit: Tony Bell Photography

A major new arts centre is carrying a project to find out more about the history behind its 19th century building.

Volunteers at the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in Stowmarket want people to come forward and share their knowledge of the former Corn Exchange.

The building had been sitting unused for more than 15 years before the centre was officially re-opened earlier this year.

Since it launched the centre has seen a number of up-and-coming artists as well as more established musicians perform.

But this will be the first community project the centre has embarked upon.

Paulin Goonan, one of the centre’s directors, said: “We are so excited about what we have achieved with the building but now we really want to explore its history and the role it has played in the town. We really want people to come to the open days so we can hear their memories and so we can better understand the role the building has played throughout its history.”

Volunteers from the centre will work with schools in the area and the Stowmarket History Society as part of the project.

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They are aiming to produce an evening lecture, an exhibition and even a book detailing the development of the building and its relationship with the town.

Two open days will be held next month with people invited to come along and learn more about the centre and the history project.

The centre will be open for the events on August 11 and 18 between 11am and 4pm.

The Corn Exchange was one of the main meeting places in the town and was also used as a cinema before it fell into disrepair.

A major £1.3million restoration and refurbishment project rejuvenated the Corn Exchange building. It is now transformed and serves as a venue for live music, theatre productions and community events. For more information on the arts centre go to