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Jubilee Grand Opening of the Old Hospital Hub and new library

A party to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Old Hospital Hub in Southwold will take place on Jubilee Weekend.  

Sponsored by SouthGen and Suffolk Libraries, the festivities will take place on Sunday 5 June from 12PM to 3PM at the Old Hospital on Field Stile Road, Southwold.  The party is open to everyone and will include food, drink, children’s crafts, and music down through the generations.  

The original Southwold Hospital was built to commemorate the Diamond Anniversary of Queen Victoria.  It was funded entirely by community subscriptions and there was great fanfare when it opened in 1903.

Jessica Jeans, Chair of SouthGen said:

“SouthGen and Suffolk Libraries felt that there could be no better time than Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee to usher in a new community life for this old community building.”

Nicola Hordern, the award-winning Head Chef for the Hub’s community café, The Canteen, will be providing a buffet style Jubilee themed menu. This will be Nicola’s first opportunity to showcase her food vision for the Canteen – a zero waste policy and menus based on what is local, seasonal and affordable to help keep prices within reach of local people.  

As Nicola explains:

“We call the Canteen a café with a conscience because it’s about bringing everyone together -- not only our local residents, full and part-time alike, but also our local farmers and food producers. We want to highlight how the food we eat affects the world around us. Our part of Suffolk relies heavily on the tourist and rural economies. We need to look after where we live and the people that live there to make sure we keep East Suffolk a special place for the benefit of all.”

Charlotte Clark, Executive Library Manager for Southwold Library, will also be providing children’s crafts in the library during the party.  The library is already proving a magnet for young children and families.  Charlotte, said:

“The new library is amazing.  The children can’t believe the new kids’ area and particularly love the goldfish beanbags and the beach hut reading nook.  We’ve had so many new customers we had to order more library cards! With the help of the Friends of Southwold Library we are fitting the library out with new tables, chairs and all manner of new fixtures and fittings.” 

Children had their first opportunity to try out the Children’s Corner at SouthGen’s children’s party to welcome Southwold Library to the hub.  Held on Saturday, 7 May, the children planted sunflowers, made thank you cards for the Bumstead Family who had provided the library with its previous home for nearly 80 years, and refreshed themselves with home-made cakes and locally sourced apple juice. 

The entry price was one worm, with a prize (a book token from Southwold Books) for the child who brought the most worms.  The winner, with 21 worms, was 6-year-old Henry Stanfield, whose Nan, Hazel Mews, brought him to the event. 

The library is now reintroducing more of its regular activities including a new Pets As Therapy reading dog on Fridays at 4PM from 10 June.

Adnams is supplying Old Hospital Hop, a limited-edition IPA based on a recipe originally created in May 2018 by Dan Gooderman, now Adnams’ Head Brewer, to commemorate the community buying the old hospital to save it from demolition and redevelopment as second homes. 

Adnams brewed another 1,000 bottles for SouthGen to use in their successful community share as a reward for the first 250 people who bought shares.   Danny describes Old Hospital Hop as ‘herbal with a bit of lichee and a bit of grapefruit.’  He is delighted to be brewing it once again.  He said:

“Having lived in Southwold, it is lovely to see this great community project get over the line. And it is great to see the beer coming back and making another appearance.” 

Will Windell, Southwold Town Mayor, is compiling a playlist of favourite songs of each generation for the event.  He said:

“Music is always changing and every generation has different tastes.  Including everything from big band to folk to blues, heavy metal and rap is a way of celebrating the Old Hospital Hub’s inclusive spirit.” 

If you have a favourite song you would like played on the day, email info@southgen.co.uk.