Historic soldiers’ hut in Heydon is restored

Heydon Parish Room renovation. Left to right, Tim Williams, Samira Williams, Sarah Bulwer-Long, Capt

Heydon Parish Room renovation. Left to right, Tim Williams, Samira Williams, Sarah Bulwer-Long, Captain Tim Bulwer-Long, Mike Crane, Charles Shippam, Simon Wilcox.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A rare soldiers' hut which is the focal point of a small village has been restored for future generations.

Col Ed Bulwer pictured in 1913.

Col Ed Bulwer pictured in 1913. - Credit: Archant

The wooden building, known as Heydon Parish Room, is thought to be one of two remaining accommodation huts from the first world war in Britain.

And since the building was moved in 1922 from Staffordshire to Heydon, near Aylsham, it has been used for parties and other social occasions.

Charles Shippam, from the Heydon-based Parish Room Committee which raised money for the renovation, said: 'We wanted to make sure we had a place in the village where we could continue community activities both for business and social events. If we hadn't done something about it, the hut would have fallen down.

'If you have a community of 100 people it is like a big family and it is good to meet from time to time.'

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As well as children's and Christmas parties it is also used for wedding receptions, church meetings and parish meetings.

Before the work was completed, the windows were rotten, the inside walls needed replacing and the gas and electrical systems needed an overhaul.

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The committee, which includes seven Heydon villagers, was formed in 2011 to raise money for the renovation.

It cost nearly £27,000 and was mostly raised by village events. A £12,432 grant was also awarded from Norfolk County Council's Community Construction Fund.

'We have a very good community in Heydon and everyone gets on well with each other and this renovation will enable that community spirit to be enhanced,' Mr Shippam added.

The hut, which would have housed about 24 soldiers, was bought by Col Ed Bulwer, who served in one of the Staffordshire regiments during the first world war and retired to Heydon Grange in the early 1920s. He died around 1934.

The Heydon Estate, which owns the village, has been connected to the Bulwer family since the 1786.

In the 1960s the family name changed to Bulwer-Long.

The great nephew of Col Bulwer, Cpt Tim Bulwer-Long who also lives at Heydon Grange, accepted a plaque to mark the project on Friday.

He received the plaque from Norfolk county councillor James Joyce, who was involved in the successful grant application.

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