SIDE-TRACKED IN SUDBURY
Navigating his way around his home town, especially those inspirational water meadows, young Thomas Gainsborough certainly wouldn’t have had the luxury of today’s handy short-cut along the former railway track-bed path.
The Stour quayside would have been busy with ‘lighters’, flat-bottomed barges, moved and steered with long oars called ‘sweeps’ and the power of the river currents. They would be ferrying goods, including locally made bricks, to London. The lands were probably still put to practical use by local textile producers. But a Stour-side wander across Fulling Pit Meadows and Freeman’s Great and Little Commons would have surely been familiar and a source of inspiration to the young painter. Don’t miss his birthplace in Gainsborough Street, now Gainsborough’s House Museum, and the statue in his honour on Market Hill. Well worth a visit are the town’s impressive churches like All Saints, attended by Gainsborough as a boy and which found its way into the Mr & Mrs Andrews landscape, along with buildings from Mrs Andrew’s childhood home, Ballingdon Hall.
Gainsborough’s House 46 Gainsborough Street, Sudbury CO10 2EU
T: 01787 372958 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Visitor entrance and shop: Weavers Lane, at the side of the house. Information: gainsborough.org
Belchamp Hall has special tours on August 10 and September 17 and 18. Booking essential: invitationtoview.co.uk