Heritage centre to open in Portishead

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 September 2020

Cllrs Tim Snaden, Paddy Sterndale, Bob Bull and Janet Davey.    Picture: Tracey Fowler

Cllrs Tim Snaden, Paddy Sterndale, Bob Bull and Janet Davey. Picture: Tracey Fowler

Tracey Fowler

A heritage centre is set to open in Portishead to commemorate the town’s history.

Folk Hall - home to Portishead Town CouncilFolk Hall - home to Portishead Town Council

Volunteers, community groups, council members and staff as well as their families have been hard at work to transform a section of the Folk Hall, in High Street, into a heritage centre, which has been a hive of activity for many months.

Portishead Independent councillor, Janet Davey, has spearheaded the project, which began when she suggested an underused section at the back of the hall, which also hosts the facility’s original coffee bar, could be utilised to create the centre for people to enjoy in town.

Councillors and staff found boxes of photos, artefacts and the town’s records dating back more than 100 years when they cleared out cupboards in preparation for the project.

After Cllr Davey put out a plea on social media, volunteers rallied to support the idea and people provided information about the council’s old pictures and donated their own photos, maps and items of historical interest, as well as helping with the practical set-up of the centre.

Town clerk Martin Salisbury, Cllr Paddy Sterndale, council administration officer Pet Parker-Barnes, Cllr Janet Davey and Cllr Bob Bull.Town clerk Martin Salisbury, Cllr Paddy Sterndale, council administration officer Pet Parker-Barnes, Cllr Janet Davey and Cllr Bob Bull.

Community groups also contributed information on the history of their organisations towards the project.

Cllr Davey said: “We have been overwhelmed by the voluntary support from councillors, staff and their family members, and, of course, Portishead residents, who have really rallied to support the project.”

As the project began to take shape, Cllr Davey decided a timeline of Portishead would be of interest to visitors and discussed the idea with local historian, Sandy Tebbutt.

The timeline is expected to be installed in the next few days, ahead of an official opening of the centre.

Portishead Town Council plans to hold regular, free heritage afternoons so visitors can enjoy the centre with a cup of tea and coffee as well as view the displays and delve in to the town’s past.

Work is also in progress to improve the main hall foyer to make it a more welcoming area with information of interest to tourists and residents alike.

The council has used the Folk Hall closure during lockdown to carry out improvements to its facilities. The hall is now open, but subject to Government guidelines.

For more information, visit the town council website and social media pages.


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