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Story of Fakenham fire to be captured in museum display

PUBLISHED: 12:31 18 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:31 18 July 2014

Mike Bridges, at the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, with part of the building that was destroyed in the Fakenham fire. Picture: Ian Burt

Mike Bridges, at the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, with part of the building that was destroyed in the Fakenham fire. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

It is a moment in Fakenham’s history which will be talked about for centuries.

Now the story of the May 25 fire, and its destruction of one of the town’s most recognisable and historic buildings, is to be brought to life.

Fragments of the familiar art deco frontage of the former Aldiss building have been saved during the demolition process and handed to the Fakenham Local History Society.

They will form part of a display on the fire in the Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History.

The former Aldiss store had been part of Fakenham’s fabric for more than 100 years.

Aldiss was established in 1892 and it is believed the company owned the Upper Market building from 1911.

Aldiss, which has department stores in Fakenham and Norwich, is today regarded as one of Norfolk’s most high profile businesses.

Mike Bridges, 82, chairman of the Fakenham Local History Society, and a volunteer at the museum, said: “That frontage was put up in 1931, the year I was born.

“The fragments will be a reminder of one of Fakenham’s most recognisable buildings and the part it played in the town’s history.

“They will form part of a display, with photographs of the fire, in the coming weeks.”

Jim Baldwin, 70, vice-chairman of the Fakenham Local History Society, and volunteer at the museum, said: “There are so many people today who used to work in there.

“My late mother and my sister-in-law both did.

“This building will mean a lot to many people.”

Mr Bridges and Mr Baldwin wish to thank Mark O’Sullivan from Anglian Demolition Ltd for his interest and for the time he has given on behalf of the society.

Meanwhile, efforts to clear the site of the fire are continuing.

The Fakenham branch of HSBC back has just reopened but part of the Upper Market area remains closed off to the public.

Do you have a story about the Fakenham fire? E mail adam.lazzari@archant.co.uk

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