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Plans to transform Old School in Hadleigh into cultural arts hub unveiled at community event





Visitors were offered an insight into an ambitious project to create a cultural arts hub in Hadleigh during a community event this month.

Around 350 people attended the Old School in Bridge Street to explore plans to transform the Victorian building into a thriving arts venue.

The event, which showcased a range of work by artist Cris Coe, also provided an opportunity for former students, who studied at the school before it closed in 1968, to share their memories about their formative years.

Plans to create a cultural arts hub were unveiled as part of a pop-up art exhibition at The Old School in Hadleigh..Pictured: Co-owner Ian Grutchfield with artist Mrs Cris Coe and her sculpture...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (42223419)
Plans to create a cultural arts hub were unveiled as part of a pop-up art exhibition at The Old School in Hadleigh..Pictured: Co-owner Ian Grutchfield with artist Mrs Cris Coe and her sculpture...PICTURE: Mecha Morton.. (42223419)

“They really enjoyed reminiscing about frozen milk bottles and having to huddle over the hot belly stove in winter,” said Ian Grutchfield, the venue’s co-owner.

Miranda McIntosh, who ran the former school as an entertainment venue for four decades with her husband Thomas, an accomplished pianist and conductor, was unable to attend, but wished the team luck with their project in a written speech, which was read out on her behalf.

“It was very heart warming that she gave the venue her wholehearted support,” said Mr Grutchfield.

Ideas proposed for future events at the venue included live music and films, poetry readings, pop-up dining and an indoor ice-skating rink.

Mr Grutchfield, whose accomplished career in television includes work on the BBC’s Doctor Who, expressed his excitement about taking over the venue with business partner Matthew Hodges.

“It is a dream come true to become the latest custodian of the Old School,” he said.

“To have the opportunity to revive the legacy of Thomas McIntosh, as well as creating a cultural hub to appeal to a contemporary audience, is a great privilege.

“We are naturally keen to actively involve the local community in developing our vision for the future of this building.”

The next planned event is a poetry-style competition in January.

To find out more about the arts hub, go online to www.hadleigholdschool.co.uk.