A Georgian townhouse in the heart of Wisbech has been saved for future generations thanks to a £1 million restoration project undertaken by the National Trust.
The three-storey house in North Brink has been renovated by the Trust and decorated in the Georgian style of the 1800s and guests can enjoy a taste of history by renting the four-storey property as a holiday home.
Wainman House, named after the Quaker family who lived there at the turn of the 19th century, has been given a new lease of life as a National Trust holiday cottage.
Letting properties out as holiday cottages is one way the National Trust helps preserve buildings for future generations and guests can enjoy a taste of life in a by-gone era - but with all mod-cons such as en-suite bathrooms and electricity.
Wainman House can accommodate 10 guests and boasts four bathrooms, plus a basement playroom and a dining room filled with Georgian chinaware.
Renting the property can cost up to £1,899 for a week, but because it boasts six bedrooms it is ideal for more than one-family to use.
Several unusual finds were discovered during the project, including rare hand-printed wallpaper from 1720 which was nailed to the walls; personal letters, lost down the back of some wood panelling written by Algerina Peckover asking for the doctor to visit her in neighbouring Peckover House; and some graffiti left by a tradesman referring to a grim story from Wisbech’s past – the so-called Doctors’ riot of 1913.
Work on the house has taken months to complete, but it has already been enjoyed by its first holidaymakers and is also subject to a number of bookings.
Nigel Houghton, who masterminded the restoration, said: “This has been a huge conservation project, with a lot of hard work going into restoring this wonderful old building, so it is very satisfying to see the house looking magnificent once more.
“Most people know the National Trust cares for some of the country’s most famous landmarks - but we also look after smaller places like Wainman House, which are historically important and part of our shared heritage.
“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.”
Huge attention has been paid to detail during the renovation with some of the carpets being specially made to order which means if Ann Wainman, who lived in the house with her surgeon husband Oglethorpe and their two daughters at the turn of the 19th century, were to return, she would feel quite at home.
In order 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.
Some rooms revealed as many as 30 successive decorative paint schemes. Meanwhile, the drawing room features two sofas - one from the 1800s and the other a specially commissioned replica, so that the two match exactly.