Town’s historic Guildhall set to become heritage hub
- Credit: Archant
A town’s historic guildhall is set to become an “important” heritage site for future generations.
Thetford’s grade II listed Guildhall will soon become a heritage hub as part of a project to celebrate the town’s “rich history” and regenerate its marketplace.
The Guildhall Heritage Hub, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will include professional displays on important figures throughout the town’s history, including the Duleep Singh family, the introduction of a heritage officer and an education programme and community activities.
A selection of paintings from Prince Frederick’s collection, and talking portraits of Princess Sophia and Prince Frederick will also be displayed, along with an exhibition of letters, artefacts, photos, quotes and newspaper coverage of the Sikh royal family.
A spokesman from Thetford Town Council said: “The town has hosted three Sikh community festival events in 2018 and 2019 and this has led to lots of interest in developing the heritage information for Sikh visitors.
“We are keen to build on this momentum and take on the legacy of these projects by installing a permanent tribute to the civic contribution made to the town by the Duleep Singh family.”
This comes as the town’s marketplace, located at the front of the Guildhall, has seen a decline in traders with revenue dropping by 25pc over the last three years.
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But now the town council hopes this new project will “excite” the community and encourage more people to visit the area.
Mayor of Thetford, Mark Robinson, said: “The Guildhall has been part of the fabric of civic life in Thetford for many centuries.
“I’m delighted this project enables us and future Thetfordians to enjoy this historic building for many years to come.”
Chair of Civic, Jane James, added: “I am delighted that this project is now able to move to its next phase.
“The Guildhall and its environs have played an important role in Thetford’s history down the ages.
“This development will help ensure that while looking back in preserving part of our rich heritage, we look forward as a town, adapting it sympathetically for future generations to ensure it remains the heart of the town through the sharing of Thetford’s civic legacy and its continuing significance.”