Ration Books to Rock ‘n’ Roll – Brilliant Partnerships

9 Mar 2022

From concerts to kids’ crafts, displays to drama, our partners are bringing so much to the Ration Books to Rock ‘n’ Roll exhibition!

We’ve partnered with some fantastic individuals and organisations to help tell the unique story of the Guildhall’s WW2 Ops Room, the local heroes who staffed it, and what life was like in our community during one of the country’s most historic moments.

The Guildhall has been at the heart of the Bury St Edmunds community for over 800 years and that is still the case today. A wonderful range of different people have got involved with our exciting new exhibition, including other heritage attractions, theatre groups, grant providers and, of course, our fantastic volunteers.

We would particularly like to thank Bury St Edmunds Town Council for their generous grant funding of £15,000 towards this exhibition.

Keeping reading to find out about all the exciting events, activities and special displays you can enjoy at Ration Books to Rock ‘n’ Roll!


Extra special events

— Saturday 26th March —

2:00pm – Suffolk Archives display & documentary screening ‘The Land Girls and Horses of Suffolk’

6:30pm – PREMIERE – ‘Forewarned, Forearmed’ – the incredible story of the Royal Observer Corps in their own words, written and performed by Bring Out Your Dead Productions

— Sunday 27th March —

10:30am – ‘Secret Bury St Edmunds’ talk by
local historian Martyn Taylor

–Tuesday 5th April —

7:30pm – ‘Daddy’s Diaries’ – the moving wartime experiences of a Mildenhall airman, brought to life by his daughter, actress Jane Bower

— Friday 8th April —

6:30pm – Classic Femme Concert – enjoy the greatest hits
of the golden age of sing with this a cappella quartet

— Saturday 9th April —

 Crafty Foxes – FREE ‘make-do-and-mend’ children’s craft activities

Bury St Edmunds Library – contribute your memories to a special display & get advice on researching your family history

A few words from our partners!

Holly Brega, Filmmaker –
“The Guildhall is the undiscovered Bletchley of Bury. It is a building rich in history, sharing the secrets of the Royal Observer Corps, and I am so pleased that the screening of my documentary ‘The Land Girls and Horses of Suffolk’ will feature at the new, free exhibition ‘Ration Book to Rock ‘n’ Roll'”
— Holly’s documentary will be shown at 2pm Saturday 26th March

Greg Hanson, artistic Co-Director of Bring Out Your Dead Theatre –
“As a theatre company we are always seeking out obscure, forgotten stories from history that we can bring back to life through live performance, so this project has been equal parts thrilling, fascinating, and inspiring.”
— ‘Forewarned, Forearmed’ will premiere 6:30pm on Saturday 26th March

Lynette Burgess, Visitor Services and Outreach Manager, Bawdsey Radar –
“Bawdsey Radar is delighted to be working in partnership with The Guild Hall Bury St Edmunds to support their exhibition ‘Ration Book to Rock n Roll!’”
— Bawdsey Radar’s display “Women on the Frontline – their untold stories” will be on show throughout the exhibition

Jane Bowers, Actress –
“I am delighted to be involved in this event. My father was stationed at Mildenhall and the operations he worked on would have been arranged in the ‘Secret Room’ in the Guildhall, which I was fascinated to visit. This will be the first time I have performed the play since he died aged 100 last year, so it is particularly apt that I shall be bringing it so close to where some of his diaries were originally written.”
— Jane’s performance of ‘Daddy’s Diaries’ will be at 7:30pm on Tuesday 5th April