Mike and Liz Harvey-Penton are pictured with preservation society chairman Mick Harker and Uckfield Mayor Cllr Ian Smith as they prepare to move their gallery out of Bridge Cottage before restoration work begins. Mike was always happy to share Jelly Babies with his customers and is holding a jar of them.

Bridge Cottage is left to its ghosts before builders arrive

It was the end of an era for Bridge Cottage, Uckfield, on Saturday when Mike and Liz Harvey-Penton closed their art gallery as a date approaches for restoration work to begin there.

Liz told UckfieldNews.com she was sad to leave the ‘magical’ building which was always welcoming, even in the winter when a fire in the grate did little to stave off bitter cold filtering in through gaps in the walls.

Liz believes there are ghosts in the medieval cottage but she wouldn’t share her stories. Perhaps they will be revealed when ghost evenings are held there after its restoration.

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Liz and Mike Harvey-Penton are pictured with leaving gifts at a farewell party at Bridge Cottage on Saturday.

Chairman of the Preservation Society, Mick Harker, said ghost evenings were just one of the activities that could take place when the cottage takes on a new role as a heritage centre for Uckfield.  It is also being registered for wedding ceremonies.

Liz and Mike have worked at the cottage since 2010 and were joined by the Lions Club a year later. Together opening times at the gallery and at the Lions bookshop meant that the public had access to the building.

The Lions have already opened a new bookshop in Olives Yard and Mike is hoping to display his photographs at the Courtyard Coffee Shop. Liz said she planned to take her handmade jewellery to craft fairs.

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An artist’s impression of the space that will be created when the top floor of Bridge Cottage is removed to reveal roof timbers. When first built in 1436 the Medieval Hall House would have been open from the ground floor to the roof but the first floor is to be retained in the renovation.

A new era begins for Bridge Cottage on September 15 when builders move on to the site to restore the building.

Information about the project and its progress will be available at the Preservation Society charity shop in the High Street and a series of monthly talks and activities are scheduled to start at the end of the month.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given the preservation society a grant of more than £1million towards creating the heritage centre which should open in late 2015.

Preservation society chairman Mick Harker points out some of the features in the 600 year old building in our pictures below. Click on one to scroll through them all and see the captions.

See also:

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Victoria Pavilion, Uckfield, ready for new role

Soft play cafe to open in Uckfield High Street

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

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