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Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 16:14 UK
Salvaging Wisbech's Georgian heritage
Peckover House in Wisbech
Peckover House has a salvage team of volunteers ready to act immediately

Emergency salvage volunteers are on standby should fire strike Wisbech's Georgian jewel, Peckover House.

The town's North Brink is famous for its classically-inspired architecture and has been recently hit by fire.

"The salvage volunteers can get here in five minutes," said Peckover House's manager Ben Ricketts.

Two buildings on North Brink have gone up in flames, while Flower Pot pub and Constantine House have also had fires, which are being treated as suspicious.

The incidents have all happened in the last few weeks.

Covering the scaffolding

The impact is worst on North Brink, which has been used in numerous costume dramas and films. The Phoenix Hotel is now covered in scaffolding and board.

Phoenix Hotel after fire in Wisbech
Work to restore Wisbech's Phoenix Hotel is planned

Alan Melton, leader of Fenland District Council, described it as a monstrosity which detracts from the whole. The plan is to restore the building but in the meantime the council hopes to cover up the eyesore.

"What we're planning to do - and I've spoken to officers about this - is to put one of those fancy sheets over it, where they have a painting of the building behind it," said Mr Melton. "Like they do in London.

"Wisbech is a major tourist area and we want to make sure that when people come along to Wisbech they actually see Wisbech in its glory rather than something like this."

Salvage volunteers

The National Trust property Peckover House is halfway along North Brink. Its management team already has a salvage plan in place.

A salvage team made up of members of staff and volunteers are on standby every night.

Ben Ricketts, the property's house manager, said they had to make a quick exit from the landmark when fire broke out.

"I was woken up very early in the morning by the police and I rang my emergency salvage team. We were asked by the fire service to leave the property by the back gate."

Each member of the team knows which item he or she has to rescue from the building.

The Phoenix, courtesy of Peter Ripley
The Phoenix Hotel is one of two fire-struck buildings on North Brink

"They save things which are pertinent to the house, individual things which belong to the Peckover family rather than just say a chair or table," said Ben.




SEE ALSO
Man arrested after arson attacks
14 May 10 |  Cambridgeshire
Wisbech suffers from fire spate
10 May 10 |  People & Places
Demolition work at fire-hit hotel
29 Apr 10 |  Cambridgeshire


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