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Gainsborough's House in Sudbury prepares for 18-month closure to enable work on £9million expansion




The museum dedicated to Sudbury’s most famous son is preparing to close for 18 months to allow for a major £9million regeneration and expansion project.

Gainsborough’s House will shut its doors to visitors on October 27 and move into a new information point next door on November 4, while construction work takes place on the new National Centre for Thomas Gainsborough at the former labour exchange site.

The project, backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will include a new three-storey exhibition and studio space, which the Gainsborough’s House Society says will be the biggest gallery in Suffolk, in addition to a new café and improved visitor facilities.

Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951567)
Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951567)

Doors are expected to open on the completed national centre, which has been planned and raised funds over the last six years, in the summer of 2021.

During the closure, staff and volunteers will operate an outlet at 47 Gainsborough Street, which will be open seven days a week.

It will provide regular information and updates on the project, and a chance to book hard-hat tours of the development, as well as guided visits to Gainsborough sites in and around Sudbury.

Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951573)
Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951573)

Mark Bills, director of Gainsborough’s House, told the Free Press: “We are excited about the closure, because it means we are one important step closer to reopening.

“The information point means that we can still have a connection with our visitors and potential visitors who can find out about the project and how they can become involved.

“The opening is planned for summer 2021, when we will offer a whole new experience to our visitors with a programme of international exhibitions alongside local projects.”

Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951570)
Gainsboroughs House director, Mark Bills..Pic - Richard Marsham. (14951570)

An appeal for financial support has also been launched, with the Gainsborough’s House Society stating the next two years will be very challenging, due to the unexpected elements of such a large capital project, and that further income will help this busy period run as smoothly as possible.

To find out more about the project or getting involved, telephone 01787 372958 or go online to www.gainsborough.org.



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