Wisbech Corn Exchange to open for first time in 28 years
PUBLISHED: 17:38 13 July 2018
The Wisbech Corn Exchange is to open for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Open for the first time in 28 years, visitors will learn about the long and diverse history of the building when a heritage open day is held on Sunday September 16.
Step back in time and relive where for decades locals enjoyed dancing, rollerskating, billiards and bingo.
The tour – which will include ‘special appearances by The Rolling Stones and Miss Wisbech 1963’ – is hosted by the Wisbech Corn Exchange Conservation Trust (WCXCT).
Built in 1811, following plans by Joseph Medworth, as an exchange hall and gentlemen’s club, the Wisbech Corn Exchange became home to Wisbech Town Council in 1835.
In the late 19th Century, the Wisbech Corn Exchange became a regular place for public entertainment - from Shakespeare recitations to dancing, rollerskating, wrestling and bingo.
Appearances by major figures in the 1960s include Lulu, The Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis.
The Corn Exchange closed in the mid-1990s after initial plans to change its use to a cinema were halted.
Local historian Kevin Rodgers will share his knowledge and display a collection of posters from the Wisbech Corn Exchange’s music heyday in the 1960s.
The recently formed WCXCT is working towards a heritage and culture-led development plan in partnership with local and national community organisations leading to a major refurbishment of Wisbech Corn Exchange.
Tours will be led by Norman Jacobs Jr, trust chairman, whose father Norman Jacobs Sr rented the building from 1948. In 2016 he died at the age of 93, eight years after receiving the MBE from the Queen.
Mr Jacobs Jr said: “If you walk inside you’ll see it’s just like how it was in the 1960s. I’m looking forward to opening it up to the public for the first time in nearly 30 years for people to see what it’s like inside.
“I recently met someone who married here in the 1960s because the local registrar office was downstairs. It then became a bingo hall.
“Through the WCXCT we’re hoping in the future to raise enough support funding to use the corn exchange as a public space once again.”
Booking is essential and there is a maximum of 10 visitors per tour. The tours run on the hour from 10am until 1pm.
Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/wisbech-corn-exchange-conservation-trust-17481863387 to book.