LATEST NEWS FROM WISBECH SOCIETY
01st April 2015
Dann's Clock has finally been re-instated to it's righful place in Wisbech. In a ceremony at the Town Council Chanmbers, Town Mayor, Councillor Michael Hill received the "crank handle" that winds the clock mechanism.
27th November 2014
The new edition of our ever-popular coffee table book "Wisbech: Forty Perspectives of a Fenland Town" is now in stock. It is some years since the first edition was printed, and costs have of course risen. As a result, the book is now in softback but the good news is the price has been held at £10.00. This is a lovely book for locals and visitors alike, and would make an excellent Christmas present! You can order it online via our Publications page.
26th November 2014
We received a lovely comment from a Wisbech ex-pat living in the USA about our Lambert's Walk video on YouTube. He wrote: "[I] send you applause and praise in the construction of the walk holding to historical detail and attention to wildlife preservation at the same time. Though it's been quite a while since I've been home; I do not remember the cemetery being there. Take pride in this your latest accomplishment and I can't wait to see it on my next visit home. Cheers! ..and thank you!"
20th November 2014
At a meeting in Wisbech for volunteer groups, an address was made by the Chairman of Railfuture in East Anglia. Railfuture are the national volunteer group who are campaigning for the reopening of the rail link from Wisbech to March and onwards to Cambridge. Their campaign has been taken up with some success by the 20/20 Vision grouping of Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and Steve Barclay MP.
The benefits to the Wisbech economy of the rail link, your Trustees believe, would lead to the improvement of both the preservation of the heritage and the cultural life of the Town and therefore should be supported by the Society. Read more and register your support.
27th October 2014
English Heritage has added Wisbech Conservation Area to its 2014 At Risk Register. Wisbech MP Steve Barclay says “Being on the list shows that these buildings are valuable, that they are important, and that they’ve been assessed by English Heritage as needing action. So when you go to secure grant money, it’s much easier to make the case that we do need money to get these things resolved.” Wisbech Society Chairman Ray Johnson concurred, adding "This is important from our point of view as it helps us to access funding. This will also highlight that English Heritage are watching the area." The conservation area includes Market Place, The Crescent area, Old Market Place, Norfolk Street and the South and North Brinks. Surveyors from English Heritage have listed the condition of some buildings in the historic core as “very poor”.
13th October 2014
At our AGM, Wisbech Society was delighted to accept a framed print of the 1838 Coronation from Dr G W Miller of Chislehurst, Kent. The print was presented on behalf of Dr Miller by his sister, Mrs Sheila Wright, who lives in March. The print depicts the scene of the banquet which took place in Wisbech Market Place to celebrate Queen Victoria's Coronation. This banquet was written about in our 1953 Annual Review by Giles Woodgate, who says almost 5,000 dined in the Market Place. He quotes an un-named contemporary observer: "The Market Place was beautifully decorated with flags and evergreens. Balconies in front of almost all the houses were full of ladies. The sight was eminently beautiful. A balloon was let off from the platform after dinner. Coronation colours, light blue and white, were universal." We would like to thank Dr Miller for his kindness in donating the print.
10th 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. You can see more photos of the opening ceremony in our new Flickr account.
Read Fenland Citizen report.
23rd September 2014
Fenland District Council issued a press release confirming the submission of the bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for the restoration and renovation of buildings in Wisbech High Street. The bid was submitted at the end of August by the Council's consultants, Ingham Pinnock Associates. Further good new is that pledges of local investment now totals £480,000 thanks to Cambridgeshire County Council raising their investment to £200,000, alongside existing commitments from FDC, Wisbech Town Council and Wisbech Society's promise of £25,000. The HLF board is expected to make its final decision on this (Phase One) of the application in January 2015.
20th and 21st September 2014
Peter Clayton led this year’s outing to London for the Society’s members and friends to look at the huge range of designs and uses of open spaces that appear throughout the Capital. Comparisons were made and the seeds of ideas for Wisbech were sown.
The activities began with a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and in particular the Tumbling Bay, a children’s adventure playground. Jennette Emery-Wallis of Land Use Consultants who designed the Tumbling Bay and designed the landscaping of Centenary Green in Wisbech, explained to us the ideas and design. From the Tumbling Bay, members walked through the Park, viewing the Olympic Stadium, waterways and planting, to the Arcelor Mittal Orbit, a major viewing feature towering over the park.
The afternoon was spent on the South Bank where the group visited the erstwhile art gallery under the Waterloo Station railway arches of Feliks Topolski which is now a gallery and bar. Then there followed a look at an allotment garden on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Centre. We headed through the City to West London where time was found to visit the recently redeveloped BBC Broadcasting House with its new concourse and to see the newsroom where the 6 o’clock News was being prepared.
Sunday morning, it was directly across the road from the hotel to “FARM: Shop”. Once a derelict shop, it is the world's first urban farming hub then onto the coach to Birdcage Walk to attend by those who wished, the Sunday Service at the Guards Chapel, followed by a short walk to the Institute of Contemporary Art on the Mall, co-founded by Roland Penrose, grandson of Lord Peckover. A short coach ride away to the Royal College of Physicians, a Grade I listed building in Regents Park, brought us to see an Exhibition of the work of Denys Lasdun, and finally St Pancras Station and the new developments and open spaces at King’s Cross.
5th September 2014
Members of the Wisbech Society celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding with a formal dinner. Fenland District Council provided The Boathouse Business Centre on Nene Quay as the venue and the Mayor and Mayoress of Wisbech, Councillor Michael Hill and Mrs Jane Hill, greeted members before the four-course dinner.
The Society was founded in March 1939 with the aim of preserving the history and architecture of Wisbech; today it is a civic society of some 250 members, still active in its pursuit of defending the town’s fine heritage. Toasts were raised at the dinner to The Queen, the Society and Wisbech – Capital of the Fens, by the Honourable Membership Secretary, Martin Gibson, the Mayor and the Society Chairman, Ray Johnson.
The Chairman read an article from a 1939 leaflet inviting people to join the newly formed Society. Written by Doris H. Munday, it reads: “The preservation of beauty in town and country is a question of increasing importance, because every day that beauty is diminishing. Everywhere changes are taking place, and old landmarks, known for generations, are disappearing. The rapid and ruthless way in which this is happening is opening the eyes of a large number of people to the value of what they are losing, and to the urgent need for action, if a beauty they have inherited and grown up with is to be saved from spoilation and destruction.”
Mr Johnson commented: “The issues identified 75 years ago are no different today. The Society is influential in protecting Wisbech’s heritage, exemplified by its recent success in Grade II listing of the old Elm Fire Engine House. It has a good working relationships with FDC and English Heritage, through plans to restore the High Street and the Chapel of Rest in the General Cemetery. Nevertheless, the work begun in 1939 continues today and for the future.”
The Society presented a bound edition of its last 25 years’ Annual Review publications to the Mayor, to be placed alongside the previous bound edition that it presented at its ‘golden anniversary’ in 1989. Concluding the evening, guest speaker Elizabeth Brown gave a humorous and informal presentation on the subject of another link with 1939, the BBC television series Dad’s Army, its writers, characters and actors, many of whom she knew personally.
29th August 2014
The Heritage Lottery Fund bid for the restoration of the High Street has been submitted. Wisbech Society has been working closely with Fenland District Council and their consultants, Ingham Pinnock Associates over the past few months in the preparation of this bid. Ingham Pinnock have passed on their thanks to everyone who has kindly given their time, contributed comments and ideas and written letters of support. It will now be several months before we find out whether or not the bid has been successful.
21st August 2014
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has agreed that the Old Fire Engine House in Elm is a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest and has approved an application made by Wisbech Society, with the support of English Heritage, to have the building formally protected. It is now Grade II listed.
The Fire Engine House was purposely constructed in 1847 as a rather humble, single room brick building to house the village fire engine, before the great age of national fire engine construction in the 1860s. This makes it a rare surviving example of an early British fire station. Unlike the few other surviving examples, which had been enlarged or had their entrances widened to house larger, more modern engines in the early 20th Century, the Elm station is largely unaltered, enhancing its architectural importance. Read more...
18th August 2014
Wisbech Society trustees David Crouch and Ray Johnson hosted a group of Chatteris Rotarians for a walking tour of Wisbech town centre. The trustees stopped at various places of interest to point out and talk about the finer aspects of Wisbech’s architecture and heritage, as well as its famous past residents, many celebrated by the Society’s Blue Plaques.
This follows a similarly successful visit by Grantham Civic Society in July (see below). If your organisation is planning a visit to Wisbech, and you'd like to arrange a guided tour, please feel free to contact us.
16th July 2014
Wisbech Society was delighted to host almost 40 members of the Grantham Civic Society, who arrived by coach on a warm, sunny morning. They were formally welcomed to Wisbech by the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Michael and Mrs Jane Hill, and trustees of Wisbech Society. Refreshments were served before a ‘talking tour’ of the council chambers, with the deputy Town Clerk, Susanah Farmer.
A ‘walking tour’ of the town centre followed, guided by Wisbech Society trustees. It included the Wisbech Society’s blue plaques, the Clarkson Memorial, Centenary Green, the Castle area and The Crescent. A private visit to the Wisbech & Fenland Museum library was arranged to view the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations and there was also a guided tour of the parish church of St Peter & St Paul.
The visitors enjoyed lunch at cafés, pubs and restaurants of their choice, before visiting Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House, Peckover House, the General Cemetery and other sites of interest. Appreciating both the sunshine and the town’s heritage, they also admired the beautiful flower arrangements currently enhancing the town, thanks to Wisbech In Bloom.
At the end of the day Courtney Finn, speaking for the Grantham Civic Society, expressed his thanks to Wisbech Society and the town, for such an informative and pleasant visit. He added that Grantham would be only too pleased to reciprocate, inviting Wisbech Society members to sample the delights of Grantham gingerbread.
25th June 2014
Wisbech Society makes front page headlines on the Fenland Citizen following the agreement with Fenland District Council of a 30-year lease on the General Cemetery on Leverington Road. The importance of this is that we are now in a position to apply for funding for the restoration of the Chapel building, with the long-term aim of putting it into use for the benefit of the local community.
19th June 2014
Many thanks to everybody who came along and took part in the Public Consultation exercise on Thursday 12th and Saturday 14th June. Along with our partners Fenland District Council and their consultants Ingham-Pinnock Associates, we were seeking your opinions on how to spend the money should we be fortunate enough to win our bid for Heritage Lottery Funding to renovate the High Street. This area is of huge importance to the heritage of Wisbech and some of the buildings are in need of major repair and renovation.
In particular, we were canvassing your thoughts on ideas for the redevelopment of the old Cooks Butchers shop. And, in a similar way to how the London Olympic development has left a legacy for the local community, part of our bid is to come up with an Activity Plan to work alongside the improvement of the High Street.
It is not too late to have your say. Please download the PDF which shows you all the details and gives you more background information about the bid, and how to submit your views. The more people contribute, the better. We have already had a superb response. After the two-day event in the Market Place, Ingham-Pinnock Associates, who are co-ordinating the bid, commented: "rarely have we been involved with a project where consultation events are so well attended by the community and indeed where there is so much local support". On their website, the Council also describe the "hugely positive reaction".
27th May 2014
The new edition of our booklet "Fenland: A Landscape Made by Man" is now in stock. This includes a feature on the new pumping station at St German's, which is the destination of our summer outing on 16th June. The booklet is available to purchase online via the Publications page of the website for £3.50 plus £1.50 P&P.
20th May 2014
Representatives of Wisbech Society met with Adam Cobb of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways Department to celebrate the completed restoration of the sluice gate winding mechanism near the Freedom Bridge.
Bridge Engineer Mr Cobb explained that as part of the £700,000 Phase 4 of the flood defences upgrades, their contractors Skanska and sub-contractors Breheny, restored the winding mechanism, remounted the Wisbech Society blue plaque and landscaped the surrounding area. This included the planting of several new trees, placing of new mooring bollards, mounting of numerous planters (for Wisbech in Bloom) along the new wall, and grassing and paving the area in front of the wall.
Not only does this area of town now look so much better, but those of us who witnessed the storm surge on 5th December 2013, and how close Wisbech came to a serious flooding event, will testify to the benefits of the new defences.
Furthermore, the project has been short-listed for a national award by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Wisbech Society would like to thank Cambridgeshire County Council for funding the restoration and landscaping, and wish them luck with the award.
7th May 2014
A fine day presented itself to the 31 Society members who assembled at the coach by Somers Road car park and set off to Cambridge for a visit to Clare and Trinity Hall Colleges and gardens. Martin Gibson and Rupert Wilkes, an alumnus of Trinity Hall, had arranged the opportunity of the special visit with Dr Claire Daunton whose husband, Dr Martin Daunton, is the Master of Trinity.
Members were met at the Backs entrance to Clare College by the Head Gardener who conducted the group around the gardens on both sides of the River Cam followed by entry into the Chapel where Dr Daunton briefly explained the history of the college. The group then moved to Trinity Hall chapel and comparisons were drawn between the two chapels. Afterwards the Members were divided so that the two groups could make alternate visits to the Elizabethan Old Library of Trinity Hall which still contained the original lecterns and books including some of the old chains and locks. The Head Gardener of Trinity Hall at the same time showed the other group the adjacent gardens which run down to the River.
Finally tea and cakes were served to the party in the Master’s Lodge of Trinity Hall. The visit ended at about 5.30pm after a uniquely rewarding and interesting afternoon. The Society again expresses its thanks and gratitude to the Drs Daunton and the respective Head Gardeners for hosting this visit.
6th May 2014
As of today, Baxters’ Tomb in St Peter’s Church Gardens, is adorned by a brand new stone slab. The old one was so badly damaged and cracked that it was potentially dangerous as well as being unsightly. In addition, the inscription had been eroded to the point that it was quite a challenge to decipher it. This inscription was carved into the new slab by a local stonemason. It reads “Here lies the body of Sarah Baxter Wife of John Baxter Merchant Daughter of Robert Gynn Esq Aged 44 in the Year 1795 Also the body of John Baxter Esq Who Devoted his life To the poor of Wisbech Aged 34 in the Year 1798”.
In case you’re wondering, their bodies will not have been disturbed during the replacement of the slab as they are in fact buried under the ground, with the above-ground part of the tomb being empty.
Wisbech Society contributed to the cost of the new stone slab.
28th March 2014
Trustees of Wisbech Society visited Thomas Clarkson Academy to present the prize to the winner of an essay competition which was run to help mark the Society's 75th anniversary.
Fourteen-year-old Molly-Mae Taylor won the £75 cash prize for her work, as the judges were impressed by the amount of research she put in. The competition, which was open to students of both the Academy and Wisbech Grammar School, challenged entrants to write 800 to 1,000 words under the title "How Life in Wisbech Has Changed Since 1939".
Pictured here with Molly-Mae and Assistant Leader of English Mrs Lockyer are Martin Gibson, Ray Johnson, Kath Powell and David Crouch.
22nd March 2014
We have updated our Publications page in order to allow our range of local interest books and booklets to be purchased online using PayPal or any recognised credit or debit card.And, now that winter is behind us, work has resumed at Lambert's Walk, with BT Builders & Landscaping starting to erect the new fences which will flank the new entrance to the cemetery.
Trustees Ray Johnson, David Crouch, Paul Eden and Flo Thatcher attended Fenland District Council's Pride in Fenland awards ceremony at the Wisbech Boathouse. Wisbech Society had been nominated in the Groups, Organisations and Clubs category, which was sponsored by the Fenland Citizen. There were some very impressive nominees who have done fantastic work for the people of this area. Whilst we did not win, we would like to thank Councillor Simon King for nominating us, and in so doing recognising the work that we do for the benefit of the town. It was an excellent evening, and awards were also given in the Good Neighbour and Young Person categories as a well as a judges' Special Award. We received a very nice certificate (pictured). The irony is that we don't really have anywhere to put it as we don't have any HQ as such! Any suggestions?
11th March 2014
Last night members were entertained by the lecture given by renowned local eel catcher Peter Carter. He provided many amusing anecdotes about his traditional Fenland lifestyle, his encounters with many well-known television personalities, and of course the eels themselves. Normally March would mark the end of our winter lecture season, but this year we have a bonus seventh lecture on Monday 28th April when, in commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War I, Peter Murton of the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, will speak about Duxford's role over the intervening 100 years.
Society chairman Ray Johnson announced that the summer outings to Cambridge and St German's pumping station are now almost sold out.
27th February 2014
Ray Johnson has released his Chairman's Report for spring 2014, in which he outlines the various activities that Wisbech Society has been involved in over the preceding six months. Chief amongst these is the work on the parcel of land that we have purchased outside the General Cemetery, where we are building a new entrance that will be named "Lambert's Walk", and are also in advanced stages of negotiations with Fenland District Council regarding the leasing of the cemetery and chapel. Indeed we are working with the council on several fronts, including enforcement notices in regard to remedial works on listed buildings, and in our efforts to secure funding for the restoration of the High Street. With other smaller projects, such as the replacement of the broken stone slab on Baxter's Tomb, and the restoration of Dann's clock now nearing completion, we hope you are able to notice a tangible difference that we are making to the town of Wisbech. However, we are always open to suggestions from you as to any other work you feel we should be doing.
For the full report download the PDF document.
11th February 2014
Last night another full house at the Dwight Centre enjoyed Martin Nutter's intriguing presentation of the tale of his namesake Robert Nutter's role in the Wisbech Castle Conspiracy Theory. There were so many twists and turns, and different characters involved in the story, that Mr Nutter did a remarkable job in condensing it into an hour.
Afterwards, Chairman Ray Johnson gave summary of our latest activities. The work on Lambert's Walk, the new entrance to the General Cemetery, is continuing and following the demolition work, the vista to the Chapel of Rest has now been opened up.
Repairs to Dann's Clock are progressing well, and it is anticipated that the clock will be restored to its original position above the former W. R. Smith tobacconist shop some time in the spring.
The programme for this year's summer outings is nearly finalised and members will shortly be receiving booking forms.
18th January 2014
Wisbech Society have today launched our new Twitter account, in the latest development aimed at improving our communication of our activities. Why not follow us via our handle @WisbechSociety?
14th January 2014
Last night's lecture by David Grech of English Heritage about the vernacular architecture of England was well attended. And judging by the number of questions asked at the end, Mr Grech's talk went down very well with the audience. In particular, Mr Grech's watercolour paintings of buildings of interest, were much admired. After giving the talk, which was based on his 600-mile walk from Beachy Head to St Bees Head, Mr Grech offered the opportunity to purchase his book "Head to Head: The Sketchbook of a Walk Across England", which is based on this epic adventure. If you would like to buy a copy, please let Treasurer David Crouch know. The cost is £10.00.
10th December 2013
Last night, members enjoyed a lecture by Freddie Gick, Chairman of Civic Voice. Mr Gick, who had travelled all the way from Cheltenham, spoke eloquently about the civic movement, civic societies like our own, and how together we can have influence at a local and national level, for the benefit of our town.
Prior to his talk, chairman Ray Johnson updated the audience about the Society's latest activities. Amongst these was his own role as a member of the judging panel for the competition, run by Fenland District Council, to design a new building for the site on the corner of Coalwharf Road and the South Brink.
There were four entries shortlisted. Amongst the criteria were the design, the suitability for the site, the use of traditional materials and the viability of getting the building constructed within around two years. The winner was BM Design Consultancy of Peterborough, whose design aims to complement the surrounding Georgian buildings with its traditional style, as reported in the Wisbech Standard.
28th October 2013
Representatives of Wisbech Society joined members of Cambridgeshire County Council for the official opening ceremony of Awdry House, the Council's new £6.5million office facility next to the College of West Anglia. Society Chairman Ray Johnson was there along with fellow Trustee Dr Flo Thatcher and her husband Mark, who live at the Old Vicarage, Emneth, the former home of Rev Wilbert Awdry from 1953-1965. The ribbon was cut by Council Chairman Kevin Reynolds. Both Cllr Reynolds and Council Leader Martin Curtis described the importance of the Council having a strong presence in Wisbech, and how it helps to demonstrate the Council's commitment to the town in general. The party was given a guided tour of the building, which is impressively light and spacious inside, and boasts some wonderful photos of Wisbech in the corridors. It is great that such a notable local citizen as Wilbert Awdry has been honoured in the naming of this building.
14th October 2013
The Annual General Meeting was very well attended. The minutes of last year's AGM were accepted, and the accounts for the 2012-13 financial year adopted, along with the re-appointment of the Independent Examiner. Ray Johnson gave the Chairman's report, a written version of which can be found in the 2013 Annual Review, which all Society members should by now have received. If you have not, please contact Membership Secretary Martin Gibson.
The four new Trustees co-opted earlier in the year, PR Officer Paul Eden, Webmaster Dr Flo Thatcher, Kate Tulk and David Wright, were elected, along with new Trustee Dr Eric Somerville. In addition, Dorothy Papworth, Martin Gibson, David Crouch and Richard Miers were duly re-elected. Two Trustees opted not to stand for re-election: Brian Payne and Michael Theobald, the latter being made a Vice-President in recognition of his 23 years' service as Treasurer.
At the conclusion of the AGM, Mr Peter Meadows of Cambridge University Library gave a lecture on the Bishops of Ely in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the first in this year's programme of winter lectures.
21st and 22nd September 2013
A group of over 40 Wisbech Society members went on the annual outing to London organised by trustee Peter Clayton. The theme of the visit, the 20th such trip organised for the Society, was the heritage of public art within the city. As well as enjoying a wide range of statues and sculptures, the party took in visits to various attractions and famous icons on the Saturday before retiring to their hotel for an evening meal.
The highlight of the Sunday was a trip to the top of the Shard to enjoy its amazing panoramic views of the metropolis below. Judds Coaches provided the transport. Thanks are due to Peter for once again hosting the tour. Click here for a more detailed description of the weekend by David Crouch.
4th September 2013
Eagle-eyed Wisbech Society Trustee David Crouch thought something was amiss when he noticed holes being dug in the pavement outside the Octavia Hill Birthplace House. David investigated the matter and found that the reason for the works was that Cambridgeshire Lighting were planning to install a lamp post immediately outside the museum, and remove a specially-mounted lantern from the Grade 2* listed building.
Following discussions with Cambridgeshire Lighting, Balfour Beatty and the involvement of Fenland District Councillor, Simon King, it has now been agreed that it will be possible to redesign the lighting of the area without the erection of the new lamp post or the removal of the lantern.
Please see our press release for further details of how David's vigilance and prompt action enabled the traditional lantern to be preserved.
2nd September 2013
Today sees the launch of Wisbech Society's essay prize, entitled "How life in Wisbech has changed since 1939". This is in celebration of the Society's 75th anniversary in March 2014. The competition is open to students attending either Wisbech Grammar School or Thomas Clarkson Academy, and the winner will receive a prize of £75. Click here for full details of the competition.
12th August 2013
The Wisbech branch of Currys PC World played host to the presentation ceremony for our photographic competition when store manager Neil Winter presented the winners with their prizes. The competition, entitled "What I Like Most About Wisbech", had two categories, over and under 18 years of age. The under-18 winner was Thomas McGuire (top left in illustration), who impressed our judging panel with his picture of a carved tree trunk in Wisbech Park (bottom left). In the over-18 category, Nick Williams (top right) took the honours with his image of workers pulling brambles in a willow field (bottom right). This unusual image prompted Wisbech Society chairman, Ray Johnson, to comment "it is interesting that the senior prize entry reminds us that Wisbech is not just founded on its architectural heritage. Travelling just five minutes from the centre of town in any direction takes us into our natural and agricultural heritage."
Both winners received an HP Slate tablet and a year's subscription to a 50GB Knowhow Cloud Storage facility. Wisbech Society would like to thank Neil Winter and Currys PC World for their generous sponsorship of the competition.
Our purchase of a strip of land near the entrance to Wisbech General Cemetery has just been completed, and we marked the occasion with a photocall with the Fenland Citizen.
The cemetery, being almost hidden from view, is not recognised and appreciated as much as it deserves to be for its wonderful architecture and rich history. Now that Wisbech Society has acquired this strip of land, our intention is to open up the vista to the cemetery, with this new approach to be named Lambert's Walk in honour of Basil Lambert (1914-94), a former member of the Society, and made a significant bequest to us. He was the penultimate person to be buried in the cemetery. It closed in 1972.
There is plenty of work to be done to transform the area, including some demolition, resurfacing and new fences. The project will be led by Society Treasurer David Crouch. If you can help in any way, or would like to get involved, please get in touch with David.
17th July 2013
Wisbech Society has ensured that a fascinating Victorian book has been returned to the town. The leather-bound book, signed by 247 local dignitaries and presented to Mr Henry Thorns, along with 100 sovereigns, in 1896, will become part of the Wisbech & Fenland Museum collection.
Wisbech Society arranged for Mr Robert Ross and his wife Joan to visit the town on Wednesday 17 July. Mr Ross, now living in Lincolnshire, but a London schoolboy in the 1970s when he received the book, presented it to Town Mayor, Councillor Ms Sam Hoy. The Mayor then formally presented the volume to Assistant Curator Robert Bell.
Using the Wisbech & Fenland Museum newspaper archive, Robert Bell has discovered that Henry Thorns practised medicine in Wisbech for many years, before being struck off by the General Medical Council for lacking a licence. A petition signed by 3,449 local residents was insufficient to reverse the decision, but more than £100 was raised by donation to support the erstwhile doctor and the funds, along with the book, were presented by the mayor in a ceremony at the town hall.
Mr Ross decided that the book should be returned to Wisbech and Wisbech Society Chairman Ray Johnson says: “I’m delighted that the Wisbech Society has helped return an important part of Wisbech’s past to the town, rediscovering a ‘lost’ story that underlines the generosity and community support traditionally found in Wisbech.”
30th April 2013
Wisbech Society was well-represented at the unveiling of the blue plaque in honour of local photographer Lilian Ream at 4 The Crescent this morning. She lived and worked at these premises between 1909 and 1928. The ceremony was performed by Mike Theobald and Dorothy Papworth, outgoing officers of the Society with around fifty years' service between them. Afterwards the party adjourned to the cafe in Etcetera, which occupies another building once used by Lilian Ream. Today also saw the launch of our photographic competition in entitled "What I Like Most About Wisbech", which is kindly sponsored by Currys-PC World. There are two categories: under and over 18 years of age, and both winners will receive a 64GB Blackberry Playbook 7" tablet with a year's subscription to a Knowhow Cloud Storage back-up facility thanks to Currys-PC World, which is a fabulous all-round package for managing your digital photo collection.
19th April 2013
We took part in an informal opening of the Centenary Green garden next to the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum on the North Brink on Wednesday. The ceremony was featured on the front page of the Wisbech Standard. Wisbech Society have sponsored the Interpretation Boards in the garden. It is now open between 9am and 6pm daily.
Wisbech's classical Georgian North Brink