Restoration project at Public Hall gets underway

Scaffolding covers the Beccles Public Hall which is undergoing renovation.Picture by Stu Sneddon.

Scaffolding covers the Beccles Public Hall which is undergoing renovation.Picture by Stu Sneddon. - Credit: Archant

Scaffolding has been put in place around the Public Hall in Beccles to allow major work to take place.

The first steps are to ensure decorative mouldings and pediments are secure following doubts raised in a report produced several years ago. Where needed, steel rods will be inserted using a resin to give a firm fix. Once the building is secure and there is no risk to passers-by being hit by falling masonry, the mouldings and walls will be repaired and cracks filled to make ready for several coats of paint to restore the Hall to its former glory.

Anyone passing the front of the Hall should have noticed the refurbished main doors now fitted with automatic openers and glazed panels, giving a good view into the Hall from outside.

It is amazing how many times “I never knew this place existed” has been said!

The other external doors and all the windows are being repaired or replaced, depending on their condition, and given fresh coats of paint. The side windows are being fitted with light-proof shutters to improve the blackout, particularly during matinee films.

Many people have commented on the buddleia growing out of the back wall but how many have noticed the other one growing from the roof behind the parapet? Both are being removed and the walls made good ready for the paint job.

Terry Dentith, director of the Hall with responsibility for building work said: “None of this would be possible without the amazing support from the Beccles Townlands Charity and the Bernard Sunley Foundation. Their generosity has allowed us to do far more than we expected to be able to at this stage.

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“We are also grateful to Peter Langford whose epic sponsored cycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats has paid for the work on the front doors.”

More work is planned over the next months including upgrading the heating and ventilation systems and major work in the roof to secure the structure and stop further movement.

Sue Bergin, director with responsibility for events, said: “We are working hard with the contractors to ensure business as usual.

“For example, access to the roof space will be from scaffolding outside the building so events can continue inside.”

Seed Swap 2015 - calling all gardeners, experienced or otherwise!

Earlier this year, on a dismal Sunday afternoon in February, Beccles Public Hall hosted a highly successful seed swap, following an entertaining talk and gardening demonstration from professional gardener Bob Coutts. We are already planning another seed swap for early spring 2015.

Although spring may seem a long way off now is the time to start thinking about collecting seeds from your most treasured and unusual plants in readiness.