One of the joys of volunteering at Brandon Heritage Centre is that you never know who will walk through the door next. Sometimes it is someone looking for information about their family or project, or someone who is simply intrigued as to what is in the centre. Then there are those who bring artifacts or photos and share memories with us. Such was the case this weekend when a descendant of William Carter, he who made the flint panels, came in with photos of William Carter’s family and the opening of the Community Centre almost 45 years ago.
The opening ceremony
On Saturday 11th November 1972, at 2.30pm, the Community Centre was officially opened and descendants of William Carter were on hand to see the flint panels displayed in the building for the benefit of all the community. The local press were also on hand to document the opening. It was envisaged the centre would be a hub for the community and opened with a library, a 1,150 square-feet hall for social events, club room, refreshment bar and reception area. There was also kitchen facilities. Tea was provided at the opening. That night a dance took place in the new hall, with tickets priced at 40p each. An official programme was printed to coincide with the opening.
The centre cost £62,000 to build and equip, with £40,000 coming from the Suffolk County Council and £22,000 from the Mildenhall Rural District Council (forerunner to the Forest Heath District Council). A tree on the plot was preserved by the building of a small courtyard in the centre of the building and the tree was retained as a feature. How about taking a look at the hire charge for the main hall and compare it to what is about today? £1.75 per hour in the evening for non-members after 7pm! The committee room, for members, just 30p an hour during the day! Sadly the centre is designated for demolition, and all the associated services have moved out, including the library and children’s playgroup.
Thank you to our visitor on Saturday 28th October, who popped in and allowed us to share this with you.