Restored section of Marlborough's 17th-century Merchant’s House opened to public

Richard Clapp, John Sykes and Ali Stott with visiting children                            (VS301) By Vicky Scipio

Richard Clapp, John Sykes and Ali Stott with visiting children (VS301) By Vicky Scipio

First published in News

The historic kitchen at The Merchant’s House in Marlborough is now open to the public after mayor Guy Loosmore cut the ribbon.

This is the most recent restoration project the house has undergone since the town council bought it in 1990 and set up a trust to return it to its former glory.

John Sykes, the chairman of the Merchant’s House Trust, said: “We have had it in our sights for several years because we always thought it would be a big draw.

“Unlike some of the rooms, visitors can actually have a hands-on experience in the kitchen. Although we put on activities in the other rooms it’s not the same as actually being able to prepare a 17th- century meal.”

The restoration of the kitchen cost £30,000, which was paid for through grants and donations including £3,678 from the Marlborough Area Board.

Work on the kitchen has taken around two years and was largely completed by trustee Richard Clapp with the help of an inventory from 1690.

The only thing that has not been replaced in the kitchen is the great fire because the Victorian infill could not be removed, but there is a painted version so visitors can get a sense of what it would have looked like.

Mr Sykes said: “We had a 17th-century table with an oak top that was not appropriate for the kitchen because it would taint food preparation so Richard spent a long time changing it to a sycamore top.”

The Merchant’s House has been part of the High Street since 1653 and the kitchen is now on the tour route. 

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