Axminster Heritage Centre set to reopen

PUBLISHED: 15:01 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:16 03 April 2019

The 1930s Crabtree Loom and original 1769 Thomas Whitty carpet.

The 1930s Crabtree Loom and original 1769 Thomas Whitty carpet.

Trevor Mace 1 Monkstone Gardens EX13 5DE

Church bells will ring out and celebrations are planned across the town to mark the event

Axminster Heritage Centre.Axminster Heritage Centre.

A direct descendant of Axminster Carpets’ founder Thomas Whitty will officially open the town’s refurbished heritage centre on Saturday (April 6).

The ceremony will be performed by Dr Peter Bradshaw after a proclamation buy town crier Nick Goodwin.

The renovation project has been competed after almost 20 years of planning and hard work. The final phase of works went ahead thanks to a £520,000 National Lottery grant.

Following the opening of the centre, housed in the original Whitty family carpet factory, in Silver Street, there will be celebrations across the town, including a street market and a brass band. The Minster Church bells will be rung - echoing a tradition dating back hundreds of years to when a major commission from the town’s famous carpet maker would be paraded through the streets with the bells ringing out in celebration.

Visitors to the new centre will be able to take a trip through time to learn what has made Axminster and the surrounding area the place it is today.

The new centre has been designed to appeal to residents and visitors of all ages. Children can enjoy their own trail with dressing up points and hands-on activities.

The extended display gallery, with its heritage collection and modern interactive displays, enables people to discover ‘The Story of Axminster’ down through the ages.

A special focus on the town’s carpet industry includes a 1930s Crabtree Axminster carpet loom, which will occasionally be run for visitors.

A small shop and the visitor information point will be located in the new reception area.

Chairman of Axminster Heritage trustees Dr John Church said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be opening this fabulous new attraction. I’d like to thank the many volunteers from within our community for their hard work and dedication and all those others who have generously made grants and donations, in particular the support we have received from The Heritage Lottery Fund. We hope the centre will now go on from strength to strength.”

The new Axminster Heritage Centre opens to the public at 10am on April 6 with the official opening at 12pm. It is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 10am to 1pm. Entry is free until April 18. See https://axminsterheritage.org/ for information.

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