THE HERITAGE Centre reopened on Saturday after a programme of major refurbishment.
Mayor Carolyn Heaps cut a ribbon to celebrate the start of a new season at the Carlisle Road centre.
The Grade II listed building, which is leased from Eastbourne Borough Council by the Eastbourne Society, has housed exhibits since 1985 explaining the town’s heritage.
The Eastbourne Society celebrates its golden jubilee this year and decided to mark the anniversary by giving the Heritage Centre a facelift and up-to-date look.
Profits from the Victorian Festival, held over several years, helped pay for the work.
Maps, pictures and artefacts show the town’s development in the Victorian era, and a new Victorian-style cinema on the lower ground floor shows rolling films about Eastbourne.
A new foyer has been created with a shop offering cards, local history books and gifts.
MP Stephen Lloyd and Borough Council leader David Tutt were among guests at the opening ceremony who were welcomed by Eastbourne Society Chairman Owen Boydell.
Mr Boydell said the Borough Council was close to granting the Society a new 25 year lease on the building, which would open the way for grant applications for further improvements including disabled access.
He thanked Nicholas Howell who designed the revamp and put in many hours leading the project.
The contribution of Brewers and other supporters, including Southern Rail and the Duke of Devonshire, was also acknowledged.
As well as the permanent exhibition, visiting exhibitions also feature at the centre. The first of these is ‘Saving a Century’, a photographic exhibition featuring the work of the Victorian Society.
In July and August ‘Image Eastbourne’ – a collection of images of Eastbourne selected from the Eastbourne Society’s 2011 photographic exhibition – will be on show. The centre is open from 2-5pm daily until the end of October. Admission is £2.50 for adults, £2 concessions and £1 for children.
The audio visual facility is available for bookings by groups.