Heritage Center 'a long-cherished dream come true' for history group

Article from Pulman’s View from Colyton , Tuesday April 8th 2014 By Francesca Evans

Colyton Parish History Society opened their new heritage centre on Thursday which members described as a long-awaited ‘dream come true’.

The official opening of the new centre in the historic Merchant’s House in Market Place was watched by a large crowd of local residents, representatives of various organizations, councilors and schoolchildren.

Chairman of the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees, Kevin Budden, cut the ribbon, helped by children from Colyton Primary School.

On opening the new Centre, Mr Budden said:

“Colyton can be tremendously proud of its new Heritage Centre. It will help bring to life the history of this ancient and important Devon town and make it more accessible both to visitors and to the youngsters here today, some of whose ancestors were among the original Feoffees.

“The Chamber of Feoffees is delighted to be associated with this important project and wishes the Parish History Society every success with this new venture.”

Mr Brian Carpenter, Community and Education Development Officer at the Devon Heritage Centre, said the new Centre in Colyton is exactly the kind of project they wanted to encourage. He added:

“The opening of the new Colyton Heritage Centre represents a massive leap forward in provision for historical research in the town and it has the potential to act as an example to similar communities in other parts of the County and beyond.

“As someone who has been associated with Colyton for nearly twenty years, it gives me huge pleasure to see the progress which has been made in bringing this project to fruition and I look forward to that continuing into the future.”

Marian Sydenham, chairman of Colyton Parish History Society thanked all those attending with a special mention to Jacquie McCullogh who bought the Merchant’s House property, former home of Abbotts Antiques, to open the centre. Whe was presented (with) a bouquet of flowers.

The new Heritage Centre takes up one half of the Merchant’s House, making the most of its historic features, including a Medieval mural which has been deemed of national significance. The centre includes a number of displays on colyton’s history, including one display board created by Colyton Primary School students, and an office area for research, where local residents can look further into their family history.

It is hoped that displays will be improved with more interactive equipment if a funding bid for £55,000 is successful.

The centre also offers a number of Colyton Parish History Society’s publications, as well as souvenirs including teddy bears, chocolate, keyrings and coasters.

The centre is entirely run by volunteers, open five days a week during the summer months – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 10 am to 4.00 pm and on Saturday mornings from 10 am to 12.30 pm.

In the other half of the building, the Merchant’s Tearoom has been opened by Mrs McCullogh’s sister Jane Sherwood.