ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF WISBECH SOCIETY
Wisbech Society and Preservation trust work hard to maintain and protect historical buildings and monuments in and around Wisbech, as our name suggests. We aim to celebrate the history of the town, and to enhance the knowledge and enjoyment of that history for locals and visitors alike.
This page of our website showcases some of the projects that we have been responsible for or played a part in. There are some features here which you may not even know existed! Others are well known, but you may not have been aware of our involvement.
We hope that our efforts have helped to preserve and celebrate the architecture and heritage of the town, and that with your support we can continue our work with many more similar projects in the future to help make Wisbech an exciting place to live in and to visit.
Wisbech Society awarded National Lottery grant for preservation and renovation of Wisbech General Cemetery chapel and monuments (28 March 2017)
General Cemetery Open Day, 2016
In the latter part of Summer, we held an open day at the General Cemetery, where the general public were invited to explore the treasures and delights to be found within the grounds.
As you'd imagine, we were on hand to explain what the Trust aims to acheive with the General Cemetery and how we'd like to engage with the general public as the project progresses.
Refurbishing the Entrance to the General Cememtary, (Autumn 2015)
During Autumn, 2015, the society comissioned and installed a set of new gates to the End of Lambert's Walk, where it leads into the General Cemetary.
During 2015, the Society commemorated the patronage of Basil Lambert, who's contributions made the inclusion of this new entrance possible.
The Rose Fair, (Wisbech, 4th July 2015)
Trustees of the Wisbech Society and Ingham Pinnock Associates were at the Rose Fair in Wisbech today, informing local residents of the Development Phase to the Wisbech High Street Project.
If you missed us and want more information, the original press release is available here: http://www.wisbech-society.co.uk/WISBECHHIGHSTREET1002.pdf.
We were impressed by the number of leaflets that we distributed and the feedback was both impressive and positive.
Garden Party, Elgoods Brewery, (June 2015)
The Society held a thoroughly enjoyable event at Elgoods Brewery, which was attended by many members of the Society.
Accompanied by a Band from Wisbech Grammar School, attendees were invited to walk the grounds of the Property and sample Elgoods fine Brews.
DANN'S CLOCK (Wisbech, 3 April 2015)
Dann's Clock, Bridge Street, Wisbech.
Wisbech Society and Rotary Club of Wisbech have passed the historic Dann’s Clock into the care of the town’s people. In a ceremony at the Town Council Chambers on 1 April, Town Mayor Councillor Michael Hill, received the ‘crank handle’ that winds the clock mechanism from Rotary’s Richard Barnwell and the chairman of Wisbech Society, Ray Johnson.
The clock was originally installed in 1860 by James Dann as a donation to the town and it's people, many whom at the time could not afford watches. It was previously removed and sold by the building's former owner.
To read more on the history of Dann's Clock, please follow this link.
COMPLETION OF LAMBERTS WALK (October 2014)
Members and Trustees of Wisbech Society gathered to toast the official opening of Lambert’s Walk. The culmination of two years of negotiations, hard work and collaborations with local people and businesses, the new walkway is an achievement of which the Society is very proud.
We have been, and will continue to, work very closely with the Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, and it seemed only appropriate that Sue Beel of the Friends performed the honours of cutting the ribbon.
We hope that the much improved vista of the Chapel of Rest that Lambert’s Walk offers, will help to enable the cemetery to enjoy the recognition that its wonderful architecture and rich history deserves.
The Walk was named after Basil Lambert, the last person to be buried in Wisbech General Cemetary and a benefactor for both the town and the Society.
LILIAN REAM BLUE PLAQUE (April 2013)
Trustees of the Wisbech Society attended the unveiling ceremony of a blue plaque in honour of Lilian Ream at 4 The Crescent. The photographer lived and worked at these premises between 1909 and 1928. Born in 1877, she had started her photographic career at the age of 17. Remarkably, for a woman at the time, she gained an apprenticeship with photographer Alfred Drysdale. This was the site of her first studio.
Lilian Ream's work was notable for her photographic record of the working and leisure time of the citizens of Wisbech, and the backdrop of the town.
She died in 1961.
The Society was delighted to commemorate the importance of Lillian Ream's contribution to Wisbech. The unveiling was performed by Michael Theobald and Dorothy Papworth, who between them have given around half a century of service as Trustees.
The Centenary Green garden, located next to the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum on the South Brink, was opened unofficially on April 17th, with members of Wisbech Society in attendance. The Society contributed to the gardens by funding the information boards which have been erected within the site.
The gardens commemorate the centenary of Octavia Hill's death on 13th August 1912, and the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum Trust have been instrumental in the purchase and redevelopment of this previously derelict site into a beautiful tranquil space to come and relax right in the heart of Wisbech.
Other major contributors include the National Trust, Fenland District Council, WREN, local contractor Foster Property Maintenance Ltd and their partner Fenland Area Community Enterprise Trust (FACET).
In total, the land cost £110,000 to buy and around £80,000 to redevelop. The Centenary Green garden is an excellent example of how public and private organisations can collaborate for the benefit of Wisbech as a whole.
The ceremony was featured on the front page of the Wisbech Standard newspaper.
The clock was made by James Dann, and had been mounted on the wall above the old W R Smith shop in Bridge Street since 1864. After the premises were purchased by neighbouring estate agent William H Brown in the summer of 2012, the clock was taken down by the previous owner as it was not included in the sale. Whilst the building is in a Conservation Area, it is not listed, so Fenland District Council were powerless to intervene.
Its sudden disappearance led to letters being written to the local press, indicating local people's feeling for the significance of the clock and its importance to the heritage of Wisbech.
However, the clock was subsequently put up for sale, and bought by a dealer from Bonham's Sale Room in London. Having discovered its history, he in turn contacted Trustee Richard Barnwell and offered it for sale, and in March 2013 Wisbech Society agreed to purchase it jointly with Wisbech Rotary Club.
The clock is currently being repaired and restored by clock specialist Ken Armitage, and the plan is to return the clock to its original position.
WISBECH CEMETERY MEMORIALS
Thanks to a donation of £2,000 from Wisbech Society, and a further contribution of £750 from Fenland District Council, several memorials in the Wisbech Cemetery have been restored by stonemason Gary Manning.
Whilst undertaking this work, Mr Manning uncovered pieces of other structures in the ground, so more work needs to be done in future.
Sarah Ledger, secretary of the Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, said "It's such an important part of the social history of Wisbech so it's important it is done and done properly."
Society chairman Brian Payne, who presented the cheque to the Friends, said "It's important the cemetery is kept clean and tidy and is above all respected by the people of Wisbech." Photograph courtesy of the Wisbech standard.
CLARKSON MEMORIAL SUPPLICANT PLAQUE (August 2011)
The iconic Clarkson Memorial in the centre of Wisbech honours the anti-slavery campaigning work of one of Wisbech's most famous sons, Thomas Clarkson. The memorial features a stone plaque on each of its four sides.
This new Supplicant plaque has replaced the original panel which had become badly eroded. The work was commissioned in 2007 by Fenland District Council, and was undertaken by leading scupltor Corin Johnson, whose previous work includes a memorial to Princess Diana.
The plaque depicts a slave in manacle and chains, and bears the inscription "remember them that are in bonds".
The project spans two major anniversaries, with its commencement coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, and 2011 marking the 130th anniversary of the construction of the Clarkson Memorial.
Wisbech Society contributed £20,000 to the £45,000 total cost of the restoration of the memorial, and Chairman Brian Payne ceremonially handed a cheque to David Oliver of Fenland District Council. Councillor Oliver said "Corin has produced a magnificent piece of work that rounds off our restoration of the memorial to one of Wisbech's greatest sons. It will be much admired for many years to come."
Wisbech's classical Georgian North Brink