Exeter’s Historic Custom House set to become Quay attraction
Exeter’s famous Custom House is set to become the centre of attention once again as a visitor and interpretation centre celebrating the history of the Quay and Canal.
The landmark building, which for centuries was used to collect taxes on goods entering the city, has in recent times been not been used to its full potential or underoccupied. Exeter City Council, the owner of the building, has for some years been exploring various options for its long-term sustainable use.
Now the city council has revealed its plans. The Quay House Visitor Centre is to relocate from its current home in the nearby Quay House into the 300-year-old Custom House.
Working closely with the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT), the city council is looking at creating a bigger and better Visitor Centre exploring:
- The history and development of the Custom House
- The history of customs and excise in Exeter
- Decorative plaster ceilings focusing on the work of John Abbot
- History and development of the Exeter Quay and Canal
- The trade and woolen cloth industry
- Recreation, wildlife and the natural environment of the Exe estuary, including flood alleviation
- The history and work of ECQT
ECQT has committed £40,000 to the project to enable an improved visitor centre to be provided at the Custom House. The Trust will also share the building with the new facility. There are further plans for a much enhanced visitor facility and funding is being sought to enable this vision to be realised in the near future.
Cllr Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture, said this was good news for everyone.
“We have been trying to find a fitting use for the Custom House for some time and finally we’ve found it! What better way could there be than opening it up for the public to see and learn about the history of the building and the surrounding area,” she said.
(from a press release)