New look Meeting House opens

Friday, 10 October, 2008

Dignitaries got together to open the new-look Quaker Meeting House, in Bury St Edmunds, following a £500,000 restoration project.

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Bob Cockle, MP David Ruffley and Terry Waite CBE all enjoyed the festivities on Saturday at the official opening in St John's Street.

The Quaker group started thinking about making changes to the meeting house around eight years ago and considered moving to a bigger venue.

But architect Richard Scales, of Modece Architects, in St John's Street, drew up plans which included bringing in more light to the building, an extension and opening up a gallery which had been boarded up.

Work on the building, which is more than 300 years old, began in May 2007.

Martin Pennock, a Bury Quaker, said: "We have tried to turn it back to almost how it was. There has been a lot of support from people who are not Quakers, that are just from the town and felt the need to support us, such as the Bury Society.

"We have achieved a great deal and it's wonderful to have been able to do this."

The Quaker Meeting House will now host a range of workshops surrounding the Quaker way of living, called Quaker Quest.

Mr Pennock said during the refurbishment project, they came across a number of people who wanted to find out more so agreed to offer everyone an opportunity to do just that.