Scores of local tales, exhibitions and photographs will go on display in the centre, the first being local peoples’ involvement in the D-Day landings 70 years ago.

“We’re going to tell the story of Stratford and its people,” said Karen Williams, project manager at Escape Community Arts. “Shakespeare is pretty well covered in town so this centre is about the townsfolk and we hope to reflect our community right across the ages and the stories that people have to tell.”

The basic structure of the old slaughterhouse will be incorporated into a new building with an extension at the front to create extra exhibition space. The building backs onto Bridge Street and is bordered by High Street and occupies an area that many Stratfordians are probably not aware exists because it’s set back from Sheep Street, where the entrance would be.

Escape Community Arts, who are managing the arts centre project, were awarded part of the funding for the centre through money made available by the Stratford Town Trust £1 million Challenge.

The challenge now is to choose a name for the new arts and heritage centre and readers can send their suggestions direct to Karen at the following email address: karenwilliams@escapecommunityarts.co.uk

The centre’s name will be announced on Friday 6th June at a special Escape Arts event, 70 Years On: D-Day Rememberedat Stratford Town Hall.