Sidmouth's Kennaway House set to re-open

PUBLISHED: 09:58 04 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:36 18 June 2010

CELEBRATIONS to mark the completion of a £1million, eight year bid to restore Kennaway House will take place today- and everyone is invited to join in the fun.

CELEBRATIONS to mark the completion of a £1million, eight year bid to restore Kennaway House will take place today- and everyone is invited to join in the fun.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire will open the house at 4pm and its charman Dr Michael James said the whole town is invited.

The event will herald a remarkable turnaround for Kennaway House after it was left derelict and faced demolition in 2001.

A local outcry sparked a £1 million fundraising campaign, including a £554,000 cash handout from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has seen the regency house restored to its former glory. Work to it finished in April.

Built in 1805, the year of Trafalgar, the house was home to East Devon's first MP Sir John Kennaway, who served in Parliament for 40 years.

It is now owned by a new charity, the Kennaway House Trust, which will run it as a centre for the arts, learning and the community. It can also be hired for family celebrations and is proving very popular for weddings, the first took place last month.

Dr James said: "We're very touched that so many groups want to come and support us. If this level of interest continues, the house should be well used."

Tomorrow, local groups including the Sidmouth's College Drummers, Town Band, Diamond Cheersquad and Sidmouth Steppers will perform in the venue's gardens from 2.30pm to 4pm.

A series of playlets by Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society will take place inside the house illustrating the history of the building and its occupants, along with square dancing, an art exhibition, other displays and cream teas in the Cellar Bar, all to the music of folk band Rooting Around.

The bar will also be open from 5pm to 8pm where there will be a hog roast and the Exeter City Steam Jazz Band will perform.


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