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King Edward VII Memorial Hall is lovingly restored

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The careful refurbishment of an important historic landmark has taken place in Newmarket, Suffolk.

The King Edward VII Memorial Hall was founded with a benefaction from Charles II and in 1911, Sir Ernest Cassel gave the Hall to the town for its people to enjoy. This historic hall, which is located adjacent to the notorious Jockey Club in Newmarket High Street, has now been fully renovated in order to provide the Town Council and local residents with a building that can bring the community together.

Works on the £1.1m project began in November 2010 and were completed in September 2011. Main Contractor Haymills delivered the scheme, which comprised the full internal refurbishment and sandblasting of the Hall. KJ Architects were on hand to achieve a practical, cost effective and attractive solution to the Council’s changing needs.

The Town Council borrowed £1m to fund the project, whilst Tesco provided £72,000 of the funding, Tattersalls donated £8,000 and £18,000 came from a funding scheme.

King Edward VII Memorial Hall has been owned by the Town Council since 1999, by which time it had become run down and dilapidated. As a result, the old single-storey extension has been demolished and a brand new two-storey extension built in its place. The entire building has been refurbished and modernised, including new sound systems, wiring and lighting, along with brand new kitchens and toilets and a new heating system. Offices have been moved from upstairs to downstairs, so that members of the public may enter the building and have any questions they have answered by staff.

The project has also comprised the renovation of the Council Chamber and public hall. The hall itself can accommodate up to 350 people and can be used for anything from an indoor market to a full theatre, wedding venue or facility for general community meetings. The public hall is a particularly important feature of the building as it is the only facility of its type in Newmarket and is therefore an intrinsic part of the town’s community.

External works have included the sandblasting of the century-old brickwork and the installation of new doors and an attractive new entrance.

Town Councillor Warwick Hirst praised the project. He said: “We are extremely pleased with how the project has turned out. Since the building opened, we have had hundreds of people pass through the doors – whether for meetings, conferences or opening ceremonies – and each person has expressed their astonishment that the Hall has been transformed into such an ultra modern facility.”

The project has also revealed some fascinating glimpses of the Hall’s past in the form of a medieval well unearthed by an archaeological survey and evidence of damage inflicted in 1941 by a German bomber.

King Edward VII Memorial Hall and the beautiful gardens that are hidden behind it have been an integral part of the community for almost a century. The Memorial Gardens play area was refurbished in March 2010 and now includes new toddler and junior play areas and equipment suitable for disabled users. In summer, an entertainment programme in the gardens brings children from all over the country.

Tillyard & Partners

Tillyard & Partners was established 1945. The company carries out work for MOD, Housing Associations and Local Authorities as well as a wide variety of other projects including schools, leisure centres, churches, commercial and office buildings with contracts ranging from £0.5m to £30m. Tillyard has been established in Newmarket since 1969 covering mainly East Anglia and the West Midlands, also available over a wider area.

A spokesperson for Tillyard said: “We have an experienced team of surveyors with excellent resources, available for work on a wide range of projects.  We are flexible and accommodating and open to new clients.”

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