Bawdsey RADAR Trust goes from strength to strength. After securing Heritage Lottery Funding and completing a major transformation of the Transmitter Block at Bawdsey last year – the newly refurbished shop within the Block has now won the prestigious 2019 Shop of The Year award at the Association of Cultural Enterprises Event held on 28th February in Brighton.
ACE is an association of Members who are passionate about their work in the cultural and heritage sector, and the aim of ACE is to promote excellence in cultural trading with workshops, training events and networking opportunities.
Their ‘Shop of the Month’ completion was won by BRT in December – and all winners of the year go forward to the grand final.
Beating strong competition from other finalists including the Imperial War Museums, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, Bristol Museum and Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, the judges commended BRT on the impressive transformation that the shop had undergone, doubling its revenue during its first year of trading in the new space.
The shop used to be a single table within the old Transmitter Block selling postcards, keyrings and booklets, but in 2016 BRT was awarded funding to restore the building and install a bespoke exhibition and new retail area.
The exhibition is an interactive journey through the history and development of RADAR and the new shop features eye-catching curved shelving which complements the circular units used in the exhibition to echo the original radar pulses.
Merchandise includes a tea towel featuring a 1945 map of radar stations, RAF journals hand-made by a local book binder with an original RAF Bawdsey stamp, and a specially commissioned Emma Bridgewater mug, as well as books about the exhibition and the characters involved in the development of RADAR, and ‘pocket money’ gifts and activity books for children.
For the new season DVD’s will be available of last year’s commissioned play ‘Unseen Enemy – RADAR and the Cold War’ , written by local playwright Suzanne Hawkes and performed by Black&White Productions over the hottest weekend of last summer, in a Teepee at the Block to celebrate the re opening.
Liz Brooking, the Bawdsey Retail Manager said “We have a really enthusiastic team in the shop and this award is a fantastic recognition for all of them and for Bawdsey Radar. We are now getting our new stock ready for opening again on Sunday April 7th.”