£30,000 transformation plans for Abbey gatehouse

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One of Kenilworth’s ‘best kept secrets’ is all set to have its historical importance restored thanks to a £30,000 community fundraising plan.

Kenilworth’s Abbey gatehouse is currently a ruin with its rooms used only for storage.

But this is all set to change after the town-run, Abbey Advisory Committee pledged to raise £30,000 in two years to enhance the space.

The aim of their Harry Sunley Memorial Project is to open up the two rooms within the Grade I-listed structure and display the rich history of the Abbey and its contents.

Residents are being called on to help make it all happen by getting behind them with donations and support.

Richard Morris, chairman of the committee said the time is tight, but is confident it can be done with some support.

“This is an exciting project to reinstate a very important building for use,” he said.

“By the end of 2016 we should have a refurbished gatehouse as well as a new station in Kenilworth.

Plans are to remove storage racks and install a mezzanine platform where there would have once been a floor.

Historical items, including

a 14th century effigy of Prior John Salle, will go on display and electricity will be routed to light the two rooms.

Visits would be available through the summer and on guided tours similar to the nearby Abbey Barn Museum.

The project was named in memory of Harry Sunley - former town clerk and history club chair, who dreamt of seeing the gatehouse opened up.

The building was used for security until the 19th Century and has had £60,000 of works to protect its roof.

Full details on how to donate will be published at www.kenilworthtowncouncil.co.uk

Artists impressions of how the building will look have been created by Jonathan Holland are also on display on promotional material around the town.