A community whose pub was devastated by fire has united to raise awareness of its plight. Associate Paul Coleman explains how we are helping with the plans to rebuild it.
In May, the village of Wickham Market in Suffolk turned out en masse to support a plan to save a building at the heart of their community. The group arranged a “flash mob” style photograph in front of the Grade II listed George pub which was consumed by fire in the early hours of April 18th, 2013, leaving behind a blackened shell. What remains of the building is derelict and in need of complete restoration. But, hopefully, not for much longer. A team of like-minded residents have been working tirelessly to save the pub for the village, raising £65,000 in just 6 weeks, well on their way to achieving the £100k necessary to allow an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
How we have helped
Daniel Connal Partnership, working with Nicholas Jacob Architects, have helped this community group with cost estimates for a Heritage Lottery Fund application and is set to act as quantity surveyor on the project, continuing in support of NJA.
This follows the success of another project on which we worked together: the Electric Palace in Harwich. Here we assisted with a successful bid for a £635,000 Heritage Lottery grant to undertake essential conservation work at the historic Electric Palace. The Electric Palace is one of the UK’s oldest purpose-built cinemas boasting a silent screen, original projection room, ornamental frontage, an open plan entrance lobby complete with paybox, a small stage and dressing rooms.
The cinema enjoyed success throughout the 1920s and 1930s but in 1956 it closed and fell into disrepair, becoming derelict until 1972, when it was rediscovered in a town study.
At the time, the council had planned to demolish all the buildings in the area and build a lorry park instead. But in 1975 the Electric Palace Trust was formed to restore the cinema and it reopened to the public in 1981.
Preserving the past
The George in Wickham Market claims an even longer history. Around 1910 Wickham Market had seven public houses serving a community of 1,417. By 1999 all but one, The George, had closed. The George is one of the four earliest recorded inns in the village, dating back around 500 years.
The community share scheme – and any successful lottery grant – aims to preserve The George enabling it to continue to be an important focal point for the community.
A similar scheme helped villagers in Washbrook raise £90,000 to save the Brook Inn, while other Suffolk pubs run by the community include the Sorrel Horse in Shottisham, the Duke of Marlborough in Somersham and the Case is Altered in Bentley.
For more information visit http://www.wmgeorge.co.uk