Mansion makeover

ONE of the best-known buildings in Ipswich is to get a makeover to attract more visitors.Christchurch Mansion will be closed for two weeks from February 21 until March 8 to allow work to be undertaken.

ONE of the best-known buildings in Ipswich is to get a makeover to attract more visitors.

Christchurch Mansion will be closed for two weeks from February 21 until March 8 to allow work to be undertaken.

And when it reopens, the mansion will have more space to show off the borough's art collection.

It will reopen with a special exhibition of works by Suffolk artist John Constable.


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Ipswich council decided to undertake the work because some improvements were needed to comply with the new Disability Discrimination Act which came into force in the autumn.

As well as the disabled access, the council also plans to reopen the Servants' Hall to the public – which will give the museum the chance to see how the workers lived when the mansion was in its heyday.

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A new patio area will be developed outside the café allowing customers to eat outside during the spring and summer when the park is very popular, especially at lunchtimes.

The mansion will also be partly redecorated.

The Friends of Ipswich Museums have donated money to allow new lighting to be installed in the mansion's Constable Room.

Sally Dummer, collections manager at the Mansion, said the improvements would make a major improvement for visitors.

"The new lighting has already been installed, and it makes the pictures really stand out. It is amazing.

"We are re-working the servants' hall to show people how it would have been when the Fonnereau family lived here with their butler and other staff," she said.

The cost of the work will come from the Mansion's maintenance budget, and will total more than £30,000.

Judy Terry, the Council's Culture & Leisure spokeswoman said: "This is another important step in the history of Christchurch Mansion.

"This administration is committed to ensuring that more of the town's historic collections are displayed for public enjoyment.

"We are investing in the Mansion to enhance its reputation both as a key visitor attraction and a cultural centre.

"It is a beautiful house and we want to make sure more people can enjoy it. I am very excited by the prospect of a brighter and lighter Mansion re-opening in time for Easter and am grateful for the support of the Friends of Ipswich Museums, our own staff and to the thousands of visitors to the Mansion."

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