Right on cue: Developer transforms old Norfolk snooker hall into fashionable flats
PUBLISHED: 08:14 18 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:03 18 July 2020
A historic building is being turned into designer homes that “set a new standard of luxury for Thetford”.
Oddfellows Hall in Earls Street, a beautiful Victorian, Dutch gabled building is being converted into nine plush apartments with one-three bedrooms by renowned local developer Dennis Bacon.
The apartments, for sale from £125,000 are being finished and about to go on sale.
Mr Bacon, of Blofield-based South Norfolk Developments, transformed Keys Hill House in Wroxham back in 2007 as well as 38, St Giles Street, Norwich, a boutique hotel, and most recently has been behind the new coffee brand in Norwich Lanes, Alchemista.
Now, with the help of interior designer Jackie Mowforth, he is to create modern, luxurious flats in what was Thetford Snooker Centre where the new apartments have been created based on an industrial-style finish.
It boasts a feature steel staircase to the first floor, an exposed, full-height brick wall and handcrafted lighting. Aged copper light switches and socket plates create the finished designer look.
Ms Mowforth, who was behind the major renovation of a chapel building in Hempnall, said: “In realising the brief ‘industrial style’ we took our cues from old factories and industrial spaces commonly found in urban areas.
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“Large windows and the introduction of natural light, so beneficial in smaller spaces, convey a spacious ‘warehouse’ feel.
“Our ancestors might be appalled at the notion of exposed building materials acting as focal inspiration for our interior spaces, but time has truly turned that sentiment on its head. Oddfellows Hall cried out for an industrial design aesthetic.”
However, the apartments are priced to attract interest from first-time buyers. Neil Pettit, director of locally based estate agent Chilterns, selling the apartments, said: “We are also wishing to reach out of area buyers and to that end we are talking about transport links, the lifestyle in Thetford and the facilities we have at our disposal. Our proximity to Bury St Edmunds is a key factor.”
For more than 30 years, Oddfellows Hall was the home of Thetford Snooker Centre, a well-known location for parties and band nights. The centre, which housed 14 snooker tables, closed its doors in 2018 and the building sold when its former owners retired.
History of Oddfellows Hall:
Oddfellows Hall was built in 1891 by Thetford’s Ancient Order of Oddfellows. The OddFellows were craftsmen who didn’t fit into the usual trades and were not part of a recognised guild. An impressive Victorian Dutch gabled structure, in red brick with a slate roof and internal vaulted ceilings, the hall became a focal point within the town centre.
By 1916 Oddfellows Hall became the Empire Cinema, operated by Richard Stapley. It was also used for theatrical purposes but eventually closed its doors after the end of the First World War.
It was later converted into a factory, and later became known as Breckland Hall.
The first meeting in ‘Breckland Hall’, was as a Masonic Lodge on December 15,1947 when the then Bishop of Norwich, opened it.
Through the years Oddfellows Hall has been utilised as a venue and meeting point for Thetford hosting all kinds of organisations including the Conservative Party, local football clubs, fishing organisations and St John’s Ambulance.
Between 1985 and 2018, the building operated as a snooker hall. It soon became a popular centre for the local community as a result of the hard work of local couple, Paul and Lynn Mossop, owners and custodians until their retirement in 2018.
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