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Flixton Hall enthusiast, Erik Goldstein, says restoration of the Bungay estate would be 'a dream come true' as plans submitted to East Suffolk Council



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International military historian and Flixton Hall enthusiast, Erik Goldstein, has said the possible restoration of the Bungay estate would be 'a dream come true'.

This follows plans submitted to East Suffolk Council by Iceni Projects on behalf of Wendland Ltd, which could see the estate is restored to the original historic plans.

Erik Goldstein, who hails from New York City but now lives in Virginia, is the Senior Curator of Mechanical Arts and Numismatics at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and has a huge interest in military history and culture of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Flixton Hall. Picture: Erik Goldstein
Flixton Hall. Picture: Erik Goldstein

He was first introduced to Flixton Hall, which was designed and built in early 1600, when the museum received a stock of historical military items that came from the estate.

The hall itself has been through many changes in its lifetime. Sold to the Adair family in the 1750's, extensive architectural alterations and expansions took place during their 200-year ownership, adding a 'magnificent' deer park and a tree lined avenue.

In the 1950s it was sold to another family who changed many of the original features. It was then used for what Mr Goldstein described as 'agricultural storage'.

Flixton Hall, Bungay. Picture: Erik Goldstein
Flixton Hall, Bungay. Picture: Erik Goldstein

Mr Goldstein said: "I have no idea what the new owners have planned. I just knew that if something is going on, I'd like to volunteer to help the new owners or anybody who's doing research for any possible restoration in any way shape or form I can, because I would like nothing better than the see Flixton Hall restored.

"I think this is an act of architectural vandalism what happened to the place in 1953, after it was sold, and I would love to see that wrong corrected."

Mr Goldstein's passion for the hall has lasted almost 20 years. In 2002, he wrote and published a book entitled '18th Century Weapons of the Royal Welsh Fuziliers from Flixton Hall', and to this day is still trying to learn more about the mansion and its history.

Flixton Hall during the time the Adair family owned it. Picture: Erik Goldstein
Flixton Hall during the time the Adair family owned it. Picture: Erik Goldstein

"I became enthralled with this lost mansion. It's one of those things that I just have never gotten it out of my system," he said.

"So even though I published my book, almost 20 years ago, I'm still trawling the internet looking for information and images of Flixton Hall."

It was during one of these regular searches that Mr Goldstein learned of the possible renovations.

Flixton Hall during Adair ownership. Picture: Erik Goldstein
Flixton Hall during Adair ownership. Picture: Erik Goldstein

He said: "Periodically I'll plug in Flixton Hall in Google and see what pops up. I was just bored on Saturday night so I figured, it's been a couple of months, so let's see what's there.

"I got to a hit and thought 'oh, my God, this would be a dream come true.'"

Mr Goldstein recalled the first time he visited the hall when it was owned by the Parsons family, and remembered the Grand Hall was filled with 'giant half tonne bags of fertilizer'.

Flixton Hall c. 1800s. Picture: Erik Goldstein
Flixton Hall c. 1800s. Picture: Erik Goldstein

Mr Goldstein hopes the estate, which housed an airbase of the 446 Bomb Group during World War Two, will be put back on the map and re-established to its former grandeur if the applications are submitted.

He said: "Flixton Hall was such an all encompassing research project. It's a part of my soul at this point.

"I'm a military history professional working for one of the largest museums in America. This is what I do. And it's so important to me. It shaped my career, and I just couldn't say enough about how excited I am just about this potential"

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