Facade of fire damaged Phoenix gets an 'all things bright and beautiful' make over whilst debate over long term future goes on
PUBLISHED: 15:57 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 01 October 2019
Behind its gleaming exterior lies a hotel in ruins -destroyed by fire nine years ago.
But the façade is an altogether different story, given a facelift to allow it once more to dominant the street scene in part of Wisbech.
Whilst lawyers and council officials continue their behind the scenes wrangle, the front, at least, of the former Phoenix Hotel on the North Brink has been given a make-over.
Thanks to £6,000 provided by Wisbech Society and Fenland Council together with skilled workmanship a little bit of civic pride has been restored.
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."
The society decided, however, that whilst a long-term solution is sought, the façade would benefit from what he termed "sprucing up".
The restoration work was completed by Tawn Decorators
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 even had 'patronized by royalty' painted on the arch over the coach entrance.