Hanse House has a long and varied history, and the ability to meet the diverse needs of successive occupants is fundamental to its survival both into the 21st Century and beyond. The building entered private ownership in November 2011, planning permission was granted in July 2012, and refurbishment works commenced.
In August 2013 we opened the indoor market in The Lubeck Room, coinciding with the opening of the new visitor pontoons on the quay. In the 15th century German merchants were based here, followed by merchants of Lynn, so it was only fitting to re-establishing those traditions of trade and commerce. We have since added a tea room, so you can enjoy refreshments in our lovely enclosed courtyard!
As well as a history of trading, in more recent times a tradition of marriage has also been established here. Some of you may recall attending or may even have held your own ceremony at Hanse House, back when the building was called St Margaret’s House and the County Council Registrars were based here. We are delighted to be continuing this tradition, and have carefully redecorated the original ceremony room, which retains exposed beams and much of its historic character. We have also completed The Blue Drawing Room, a beautiful Georgian room with high ceilings, sash windows and a very fine chandelier, which is now also licensed for ceremonies.
Our function rooms are in regular use for wedding receptions, birthday parties and other events, with catering provided by our talented chefs in The Rathskeller. The considerable works we have undertaken here have certainly provided the perfect environment for people to celebrate and enjoy themselves, which really does bring the building back to life!
We’re pleased to say the Gallery is also up and running. The partitions that previously formed individual offices have been removed to reveal period cast iron columns and exposed timbers, giving a clear indication of our origins as a warehouse complex. We hosted our first exhibition in March 2014, and have since shown works from a variety of artists; including painters, sculptors, photographers and illustrators, all of which have proved popular with visitors!
Works are nearing completion, and the developments at Hanse House have greatly increased public access to the building and it’s really encouraging to see so many visitors to the building from near and far. A wide range of local clubs, societies and business groups meet here on a regular basis, putting the spaces we have created to good use for meetings, conferences, workshops and more; in addition to our permanent residents offering a wide range of services. We have also hosted or taken part in a number of events, including International Hanse Day and Heritage Open Day.
We are hoping to find uses for the building as varied as those it has previously accommodated, so if you are interested in anything you have read here, or have thought of something we haven’t, then please let us know!