The John Milton Room Renovation Project

Stowmarket is very fortunate to have, at its heart, a community facility with such important and historical standing. Milton House, an old Vicarage, is a Grade II listed building with connections to John Milton (1608-1674). Around 1840 the Reverend Hollingsworth, who was incumbent at the time, added a ballroom to the complex. This is now known as the John Milton Room. The John Milton Room is used as a ceremony room for weddings and civil ceremonies and as a meeting and gathering place for local organisations including the Town Council.

Michelle Marshall, former Deputy Town Clerk recalls the first she visited the room “From the moment I first entered the John Milton Room, I could see that it was in desperate need of renovation. I didn’t realise at the time how many years it would take for the project to begin.”

“It was last redecorated twenty years ago, the carpet had faded, cracks were appearing in the walls, the windows were rotting away and the room was looking extremely shabby. We had started to receive feedback from couples saying that they loved the building and the grounds but that the room itself was not up to scratch and that they would not wish to get married there. We knew at that point that something must be done to provide the town with a venue to be proud of.”

The funding for the refurbishment and renovation came from the three Councils; Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and Stowmarket Town Council. Michelle Marshall said “This is an excellent example of collaborative working between local authorities, without the financial support from the District and the County Council this project would have never got off the ground and Stowmarket would still have a substandard ceremony room.”

“We have worked extremely hard to bring the facility into the 21st Century whilst retaining the traditional charm and character of the room. There had been a number of unsympathetic modifications over the years including a 1980’s UPVC door dividing the entrance hall, the bricking up of the original fireplace and the installation of air conditioning vents and plastic trunking around the room. The modifications were removed and the fireplace was opened up to give a feel of how it would have looked in the Victorian era.”

The John Milton Room is available for weddings and civil ceremonies, for details, please contact the Suffolk County Council Registrars on 0345 607 2050. It is also available for hire for meetings and gatherings at an hourly rate of £12.25. Refreshments are available. Please telephone 01449 612060 to check availability.