Historic former Phoenix Hotel in Wisbech to have £6,000 facelift to the frontage nine years after blaze
PUBLISHED: 12:31 01 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 02 August 2019
An historic Wisbech building that once held host to Princess Victoria is set to have a £6,000 facelift after being destroyed by a fire nine years ago.
The former Phoenix Hotel, which was in use as a Chinese restaurant on North Brink, was gutted by the devastating blaze in April 2010 leaving only the façade.
The Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust has now decided that it needs sprucing up while a long-term solution is sought.
It comes after they received a grant to help towards 50 per cent of the cost of restoration from Fenland District Council's Changing Views scheme.
Paul Eden, from Wisbech Society, said: "The property's owner disappeared soon after the 2010 fire and all efforts to trace them have failed.
"A key part of the nationally important Georgian terrace that comprises North Brink, the façade is supported by a steel structure.
"False windows and doors were erected to disguise the derelict wall that remained.
"Unfortunately, these soon fell into disrepair and, more recently, deteriorated to the point where 'windows' were falling out, greatly detracting from North Brink's famous architectural beauty.
"Wisbech Society, a Civic Trust and Preservation Society, decided the façade needed sprucing up while a long-term solution is sought."
In 1835, when it was known as The Old White Hart Inn, it was one of two coaching inns in the town from where daily services ran to London.
Princess Victoria, who was travelling with her mother the Duchess of Kent from Burghley House to Holkham Hall, changed horses at the inn.
The landlord had 'Patronized By Royalty' painted on the arch over the coach entrance.
The restoration work will be completed by Tawn Decorators with the Wisbech Society also pledging funds towards it.
The pavement outside the property will be closed and parking suspended during the work.
For further information about the society and details of membership visit wisbech-society.co.uk