Brandon Country Park’s newly restored 19th century Engine House has officially opened. The historic building, which previously supplied water and electricity to Brandon Park House, was slowly deteriorating through lack of maintenance before being returned to its former glory as part of a Breaking New Ground (BNG) landscape partnership scheme.
Official opening of the restored Engine House at Brandon Country Park The project, hosted by Suffolk County Council and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has seen the Engine House and Bothy restored and connected with a brand-new link building.
They were officially opened today by 91-year-old project volunteer Ronald Rule and will now be used by the park, local community groups and organisations to deliver training and run volunteer workshops, events and meetings. Mr Rule was born at Brandon Park, just a few yards from the buildings, and his father, a chauffeur for the estate owner, previously looked after the Engine House machinery. As part of the restoration project, carried out by Gipping Construction, new interpretation panels celebrating the history of the park and buildings have been installed, along with lighting in the well over which the Engine House was built, providing views of the 150ft drop for the first time.
Visitors look down the Engine Room’s 150ft deep well Matthew Hicks, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “Suffolk County Council 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.”
Concertus very own Quantity Surveyor, Neil Page worked on the project as a cost consultant: “The intention was to link the two buildings with a small new building where most of the services will be concentrated, including toilets and kitchenette whilst retaining as much as possible of the existing character. The project is unique in that the completed building is intended only to assist in the running of the park facilities. There are two existing rooms which were to be changed as little as possible, whilst still ensuring safety, the key was to maintain the existing historic charm”.