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Sheringham’s Wee Retreat appears on Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing

PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:44 12 October 2020

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Picture: BBC/Owl Power/Mike Caine

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Picture: BBC/Owl Power/Mike Caine

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It went from being a toilet block to an anniversary present, and now an unusual North Norfolk retreat has found fame on TV.

The Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYThe Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The Wee Retreat, in Sheringham, became a talking point when Nick Willan spent £85,000 turning it into a holiday cottage for his wife, having paid £104,000 for it in 2011.

Now it has been gracing the screen after comedians Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse stopped there for a night on their hit BBC2 show, Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing.

The show, which is available on BBC iPlayer, sees the long term friends travel around the UK visiting various fishing spots while reflecting on life and swapping stories.

The pair picked the Wee Retreat while visiting the Norfolk Broads.

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse stayed in the Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYBob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse stayed in the Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

And while its former guise may not suggest luxury, the former toilets boast comfortable beds, an ensuite, a kitchen and uninterrupted views out to sea.

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The former ‘loo with a view’ on the east promenade was built in 1897 and served as the town’s public toilets until it was closed in 2006.

In 2011 the Victorian block was put up for auction and sold for more than double the £30,000-50,000 pre-auction estimate.

The Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYThe Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The building was bought by Mr Willan, a builder.

At the time of the renovation Mr Willan, from Cawston, described the project as a “labour of love” and said: “At one point we thought ‘what are we doing?’. But nowhere has got views like this.”

The renovation saw Mr Willan keep 85pc of the original structure, although aside from its name and a sign leading to the property little was left behind to remind people of its previous use.

A metre was added to the roof of the building for the main bedroom and ensuite; the former ladies’ toilets area was converted into the kitchen and lounge while the men’s toilets became a bedroom and shower room.

Nick Willan who bought and converted the Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYNick Willan who bought and converted the Wee Retreat, on Sheringham promenade, which was a former toilet block. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Staying in the property, which is now a holiday let, Mr Mortimer and Mr Whitehouse spent an evening discussing the day’s fishing and listening to the wind whistling around the building.

Mr Whitehouse was shocked by the “ferocity” of the wind outside - while Mr Mortimer speculated it might be the noise of the bathroom extractor fan.


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