Is this £1m Georgian refurb on Wisbech’s North Brink one of East Anglia’s most delightful holiday cottages?
- Credit: Archant
A century ago, it was stormed by rioters. Today, the stately Georgian townhouse is enjoying a more leisurely life, after a £1m facelift.
Conservationists from the National Trust have spent four years restoring Wainman House, on the North Brink at Wisbech.
The three-storey Grade I listed property, on the banks of the Nene, is opening as a holiday cottage, where guests can travel back in time and experience what life was like in Georgian times.
'As a charity, we have to target our resources and find different ways to help preserve old, unused buildings and turning this townhouse into a holiday let will help guarantee its future for years to come,' said Nigel Houghton, the trust's project manager.
'This has been a huge conservation project, with a lot of hard work going into restoring this wonderful old building, so it's very satisfying to see the house looking magnificent once more.'
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The interior reflects how the house would have been decorated in the early 1800s, with simple colours and furnishings reflecting its Quaker heritage.
The property, next to the National Trust's Peckover House, was lived in by the surgeon Oglethorpe Wainman, his wife Ann and their two daughters at the time.
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As well as living comfortably in one of the town's most prestigious addresses, Dr Wainman is also believed to have carried out his operations from his home.
Curator Mike Sutherill said: 'If Ann Wainman was to return to her family home today, the current furnishings, their arrangements, the fabric and curtains would all be of a style familiar to her.
'We have used illustrations and inventories of the contents from similar properties of the period to help us restore the house.
'Huge attention has been paid to detail. For example, the living room carpet has been specially-made from a design created in around 1790 and has been hand-stitched.
'To find the appropriate colours for the walls, paint sections have been examined under a microscope, the different layers of paint identified, then the colour relating to the late Georgian period reproduced.'
As they worked on the house, trust staff found samples of rare hand-painted wallpaper dating back to 1720, which was nailed to the walls.
They also found letters which had been lost behind its wood panelling, dating back to the 1840s, when Angelia Peckover wrote requesting the doctor attend her 'squeamish' father and her cook, who had been taken pale.
Upstairs the house sleeps 10 in a mix of single, twin and double rooms. A cellar houses a games and opens onto the garden.
The property can be rented for around £900 a week, depending on time of year.