Prittlewell Priory – grand reopening ceremony
The fabulously-restored Prittlewell Priory will reopen on Saturday 16th June ready to tell new chapters of its spectacular history.
The 12th century former Cluniac Priory has been carefully renovated thanks to a £1.6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and funding from the Cory Environmental Trust and the Friends of Southend Museums.
Now the Grade 1 listed building in Priory Park, Southend, is more accessible to all and able to reveal its hidden past with the help of new interactive technology.
For the first time visitors will be able to walk in the footsteps of medieval monks and those of the Victorian Scratton family, whose descendants lived at the house for 250 years.
Comedian and Southend resident Phill Jupitus will perform the grand reopening ceremony at 12noon on Saturday.
Jazz legend Digby Fairweather will perform in the cloisters at 1pm, followed by the Ladies Orpheus Choir and the Southend Operatic Society.
A host of history and wildlife stalls will be open from 10.30am and there will be demonstrations and tours of Priory Park. The priory itself will remain open for visitors until 4pm.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Derek Jarvis, said: “The re-opening of Prittlewell Priory is a truly momentous occasion.
“Following the renovations we can share the history of the house which has never been told before. The building is much-loved and supported by residents who have contributed in many ways to help restore this jewel in our heritage crown.
“Among those celebrating at the re-opening will be those who have sponsored paving bricks in the Priory Path, which links the Priory to the new eco-friendly visitor centre. So far 350 people have between them raised £28,000 towards the restoration by sponsoring bricks and the appeal is continuing.”
If you would like to sponsor one of the pavers, which can carry a personalised message, ring 01702-434449 or visit www.southendmuseums.co.uk Alternatively, pick up a flyer at the Priory or any other branch of Southend’s Museums Service – the Central Museum, Southchurch Hall or the Beecroft Art Gallery.
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