Sneak peek into the future of historic landmark

THE designers behind the renovation of one of the area’s most historic landmarks have provided a sneak peak of what people can expect when the project is complete.

Since 2006, the Finchingfield Guildhall on Church Hill has been the focus of a �1.4million project to restore the building to its former glory while providing a hub for the community.

With the project now just five months away from completion, Smith and Jones Design Consultants, based in Bristol, have released an artist’s impression of what the museum will look like, pictured.

Finchingfield Guildhall trustee Jeremy Toynbee described the look as “fantastic – it’s clean, open and very far removed from a few dusty old display cases”.

Mr Toynbee added the design brief was to not obscure the building’s fabric as “this is the most significant artefact”, but at the same time to cram in as much as possible.

“The project is all part of re-establishing a focal point for the village through a central place to come together and experience the village, both now socially, and through the museum, its historic past,” he said.

The building’s chequered history has seen it used as a school, almshouses, museum, shop and library. But years of neglect saw it added to English Heritage’s ‘At Risk’ register in 2006 – the roof was dangerous, the kitchen and toilet amenities were “wholly inadequate”, there was no heating system, and access to the first floor was difficult for “all but the most able bodied”.

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Now, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers and trustees, the 15th Century Guildhall is on the cusp of re-establishing its role in village life. The old almshouses have been demolished and the whole building is being fitted to cater for the community by providing a hall space, library and a museum.

The project is still on schedule despite the wettest summer on record and is due to be completed in April 2013.