The History of Belsey Bridge Conference Centre

September 2016

 
The History of Belsey Bridge Conference Centre

All of CCT’s venues boast rich and fascinating histories. Here we take a look at Belsey Bridge, located in the heart of East Anglia, the venue hosts groups from around the country and has earned itself a reputation as one of the region’s favourite conference centres.

Origins

The house that would go on to become Belsey Bridge started life as a school for orphans in 1862. Known as the All Hallows Community, the orphanage was run by nuns and took in girls from across the area. The girls, most of whom were from middle class backgrounds, had a strict routine of study and worship, with vocational training introduced in later years. As well as being an orphanage, All Hallows was a school, a hospital and a home for fallen women.

All Hallows School

In the early twentieth century, the orphanage became financially unviable. To help make the institution pay, it was transformed into a fee-paying boarding school known as All Hallows School. In 1947, a junior school was added and the school thrived until it finally closed its doors in 1990.

Life as a conference centre

In 1990, the site reopened as a guesthouse and conference centre. In 1999, Belsey Bridge underwent substantial renovations with 40 new en-suite rooms added to the site and a range of improvements and modernisations completed.

In 2009, Belsey Bridge was acquired by CCT. Since then, it’s welcomed groups from across the country and hosted events and conferences on a wide range of topics. The centre’s high quality rooms, fantastic facilities and beautifully landscaped grounds have made it an extremely popular location for events of all types, and we’ve seen a number of organisations return to Belsey Bridge year after year.

Norfolk Hall and Mural by Alan Oldfield

The Chapel

One of Belsey Bridge’s most unique features is Norfolk Hall. A former chapel, this beautiful conference and meeting space has a unique aesthetic and a truly special feel. Rebuilt in 1960 in memory of Herbert Palmer, Warden of the Community of All Hallows and Chaplain to the school, The Chapel is a great example of mid-20th century architecture. The hall is dominated by a vast mural (shown above) by the Australian artist Alan Oldfield. Installed in 1989 the mural, based on the writings of Julian of Norwich, depicts the Revelations of Divine Love and is described as being 'one of the most impressive religious artworks made in the region in the last century'.

Thanks to its numerous features, rich history and beautiful location, Belsey Bridge is an excellent venue for events of all kinds. To find out more, or to start organising an event of your own, contact our team today.

 
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Ditchingham, Bungay
Suffolk, NR35 2DZ

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