The South Brink
In this picture you see the buildings which follow the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum, from the other side of Somers Road as far as the old Grammar School.
First there is the old Sessions House, recently cleaned and restored. This is followed by the former Police Station. These two buildings interconnected so that when an alleged miscreant had been taken into the station, if there were a charge to answer, he might be transferred to the Sessions House without being exposed to the view of the people on the Brinks. There he could be kept in a cell, brought out for trial and returned to the cell if convicted.
The next two buildings are both Georgian. The first is rendered and painted cream and the second red brick. Both of these are, and have long been, flats.
Then we come to number 12 which has a long frontage on to the South Brink.Looking at it from outside Peckover House, (which is almost exactly opposite across the river), it becomes evident that this is a charming Georgian house which could be regarded as a reflection of the more famous one that it faces. It has more windows but no front garden. The interior decorations are so similar as to lead one to think that they were made by the same hands. It has pediments and broken pediments over interior doors as at Peckover and a similar ceiling with Georgian decorative plasterwork.
The house is early Georgian, built, like Peckover, about the year 1722, but little is known about its early occupants. Members of the Jackson family owned it and occupied it over a very long period, indeed almost as long as the Peckovers lived at Bank House. Hugh Jackson took up residence in the very early nineteenth century and was followed by his son, also Hugh, who died in 1852. His son, William Goddard Jackson, solicitor and JP then took over; and in 1890 was followed by his son and two daughters. It was probably the second Hugh Jackson who enlarged the house by building on a very fine drawing room, which is on the first floor.
Mr John Dawbarn purchased the property in 1938 and it was a family home until, in 1954, it became the Water Board offices. When the Water Board decided to build their own premises in Oldfield Lane, the house was owned for a while by the Local Authority. Finally the house became the present hotel.
It is interesting, though probably irrelevant, that it was Mr George Dawbarn who, in 1865, was instrumental in setting up the first Wisbech Waterworks. Safe, drinkable water was piped from Marham Springs to supply the town. This made an enormous difference to the health of the townspeople, who until then had suffered frequent epidemics of cholera and other water-borne diseases. With one stroke George Dawbarn reduced the local death rate very considerably, and perhaps also the need for such a high consumption of beer!