Having been able to open up Mutual House as a building site during last year’s Heritage Open Weekend, we were thrilled to be able to do things on a grander scale and show off Mutual House to its full potential.
Not only were we featured on the front cover of the official brochure, we had a visitor's guide booklet available, alongside a competition asking people to correctly identify the 11 buildings from Ipswich's history etched on our fascia.
We had some fantastic elements on display including the mosaic tiles we found when excavating the lift pit, the original 1850’s ballot box used by the Freehold Land Society (FLS), the original architect's drawings from 1901 and the strong room featuring our custom-made wallpaper comprising plans and bills of sale from properties developed by the Society.
The weekend went better than I could have ever hoped with many hundreds of visitors across the two days who absolutely loved the chance to have a look around the building and browse the displays.
The stars of the show, however, were undoubtedly our tour guides in their Edwardian costumes – Charlie as bank manager Charles Nesbitt Wood and his wife Hilda played on Saturday by Michelle and on Sunday by Charlotte. Authentic historical research carried out by the Society’s archivist Margaret Hancock, who also provided the period gold brooch which Michelle was nervously wearing!
We were ably supported by Chloe, Lewis and Cheryl – the whole cast looked amazing and the visitors loved it. They also displayed their incredible knowledge of the building and delivered some excellent tours.
It took a lot of time and effort to organise this weekend, but the pay-off was definitely worth it.
Now we just need to do it even bigger and better next year!!