Bell rings in new role for Brockdish school as Waveney Heritage Centre
A new “term” has begun at the 200-year-old Brockdish village school.
The bell, which once summoned children to class, was rung to greet the arrival of the Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, who formally launched the reopening of the school as the Waveney Heritage Centre.
The former Church of England primary school, which closed in 2016 because of falling numbers, now becomes a centre for community and education use for researching, exploring and celebrating the history and heritage of the river valley.
Since the start of the year, volunteers – under the leadership of Geoff Doggett – have worked hard to establish the school and its modern extension and grounds as the base for a not-for-profit community interest company.
It has already won a £9,500 Heritage Lottery grant for an initial heritage project focusing on Brockdish and neighbouring Needham, which will be led by local historian and Needham resident Stephen Poulter.
Tim Brook, a board member and local resident, said: “All the guests at the opening day remarked how pleased they were to see the building being put to such good use.
“Villagers who had previously visited for our open morning in March were impressed by the transformation, from the rather forlorn, empty school into an attractive environment buzzing with life.”
Bishop Graham was accompanied at the opening by the rural dean, the Rev Nigel Tufnell, and, after his speech, guests at the official opening were able to view displays showing how the building will be used in the future.
The large upstairs room is now home to the Prior’s Croft Collection of working broadcasting equipment on loan from former BBC broadcaster Stewart Orr.
The hall has been equipped for talks and films and the downstairs areas have become a studio for art and craft working, an activity area for courses and workshops, an archive library and a counselling room.