Secret room found as Wisbech Castle is transformed into an asset that will be at the heart of the community
Volunteers have put hours and hours of work to slowly breath new life into Wisbech Castle over the past months.
The gardens have been transformed from neglected and overgrown to tidy and attractive thanks to Brenda Barber, Roger Rawson and their willing helpers.
Inside rooms have been decluttered, repainted and made useable. Outside brickwork has been repointed, windows and doors repaired and also repainted by the team led by Dave Topgood and Tony Bennett.
Work has also gone on creating a cafe in the former Pump House and work on the Market Street entrance to create a paved area is almost complete.
The paving means the entrance from Market Street to the Pump House is no longer a bit of rough waste ground, but is instead a lovely driveway, with the Castle logo as a central feature - perfect for when the cafe opens next month.
Councillor Steve Tierney has kept residents up-to-date with all the work via his blog and describes in detail “an incredible couple of months” in which “so much has happened”.
One of the more exciting incidents is the discovery of a secret room unearthed in the Castle grounds.
Steve said: “Exciting news - a walled-up secret room has been discovered in the Castle grounds.
“This room is not on the current maps and although we did wonder if there might be something there we had not confirmed there was … until now.
“Two test drill holes have revealed a complete underground room, in good condition, which has been hidden away for a very long time indeed. it appears to be empty, but clear and mostly dry.
“Now we will need to do some checks to see if its safe to open the room up and once that it confirmed we’d like to do so.”
Commenting on all the progress Steve said: “Volunteers have been beavering away inside and out with so many people giving their time and energy to the building and grounds.
“Tradesmen have been busy too, restoring areas and doing work that was beyond what volunteers could reasonably get done. Most of the inside of the building is all but finished. The gardens look incredible. The Pump House is almost ready to roll. The Enchanted Walk has had its initial work done.
“Walls and ceilings and floors and carpets and repointing of bricks and painting and railings and repairs to structure and contents all continues apace.
“We have a team about to start work on a new booklet guide to the Castle and its history.”
While work has been continuing the Castle has already hosted events. The Castle Working Party opened the grounds for last month’s Rose Fair Day, hosting a Victorian Garden Party and enabling visitors to see the project’s success so far.
Earlier this month the United Nations UNBOSI team spent four days wowing visitors doing weird and wonderful things with their ‘grand experiment.’
Meanwhile the Fairy Den has taken shape.
Steve said: “The Fairy Den! Wow, that has come out better than we ever imagined. The original idea to deck the area out as a secret Fairy Den for kids to enjoy morphed into a plan to create a camouflaged secret walk which leads from the Fairy Den to the garden through a concealed passage.”
He said: “We hope that the Castle and grounds will be fully open to the public in September, with the vaults opening to some extent in time for Halloween.
“More volunteers are always needed. Come and join the team that is putting the Castle back where it belongs, at the heart of Wisbech.”