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Brandon engine house opens

Published: Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 15:30

Brandon engine house opens

The Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership and Suffolk County Council's Brandon Country Park were delighted to open the newly restored Brandon Engine House at Brandon Country Park on Wednesday 9th August at 11am.

Brandon Park was a large estate of almost 3,000 acres and in the late 19th century, an Engine House was built over the well to mechanise the process of drawing water up for use in the mansion and auxiliary buildings on site. Later on, the engine also produced electricity for the site. Once mains electricity reached the Park, the Engine House continued to provide water for the estate and was used as a workshop for many years. More recently the building was used for storage, as a kennels and workshop, while slowly deteriorating through lack of maintenance.

The Breaking New Ground LP, hosted by Suffolk County Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, have now completed a programme of restoration of the Engine House and Bothy, connecting the two with a brand-new link building. The work was carried out by Suffolk company Gipping Construction. This fantastic new resource, owned by BNG partners the Forestry Commission, will be leased and managed by the team at Brandon Country Park. It will be used by the park, local community groups and organisations, providing a new venue to deliver training, run volunteer workshops, events and meetings.

The buildings were officially opened by Ronald Rule, a 91-year-old project volunteer, who was born at Brandon Park, just a few yards from the buildings themselves. His father was the chauffeur for the estate owners and looked after the collection of motor vehicles they owned as well as the Engine House machinery. New interpretation panels have been installed in the engine room, which celebrate the history of the Park and buildings, along with lighting in the well, allowing us to see down all 150ft for the first time!

Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection said "SCC is delighted to have been involved in a wonderful project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, that has brought such a historically significant building back into use at Brandon Country Park. It presents an opportunity for visitors to the building to understand the role it played in providing power and water to the main house, and will provide a fantastic new venue for local groups and organisations to meet, train and hold events."

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