End of an era…

Photo courtesy of Ron Hill.

Saturday 30th August saw the last day of trading for Mike and Liz Harvey Penton from the Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre as the building is cleared ready for its £1M restoration.

Mike and Liz started using Bridge Cottage as their gallery after the small trading units were removed from the Bell Walk Market Hall in 2010.   Since that time Mike’s wit and Liz’s smiling face have welcomed everybody who stepped over the threshold to view Mike’s extensive collection of pictures.  Come rain or shine, and in spite of the extremes of temperature experience in an unheated Medieval Hall house, there has always been a kind word and the offer of a jelly baby to help the viewing experience.

Latterly Liz’s artistic talents have branched out into jewellery making which, combined with other local craftsmen, created a small craft hub in this, the most complete Medieval Hall house in the district.

In 2011 they were joined by the Lions who used the lock-up shop attached to the Cottage to start-up a second hand bookshop.  This was a new venture for the Lions and due to its success it soon became evident they needed more space.  Unable to find anything else locally, Mike and Liz graciously agreed to reduce the size of their Gallery to allow the bookshop to expand into the Cottage.

The Lions found new premises in Olives Yard, which officially opened on 23rd August, leaving Mike and Liz to shut the shop on this latest stage of Bridge Cottage’s 600 year history.

The Uckfield District and Preservation Society (UDPS) has received a grant of £1,017,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre Renovation Project and the work is scheduled to start on the 15th September with a planned re-opening in late 2015.

Information about the project and its progress will be available at the Society’s Charity Shop in the High Street or through a monthly series of talks and activities scheduled to start at the end of September.

Updates will be posted here so come back regularly to check progress!