Pub in Woodditton to rise from the ashes after devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 17:22 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 05 December 2018

Before and after the major fire at The Blackbirds Inn.

Before and after the major fire at The Blackbirds Inn.

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A historic 17th century pub near Newmarket – which was destroyed by fire earlier this year – is to be rebuilt, its owners have announced.

The Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton is to be rebuilt Picture: THE CHESTNUT GROUPThe Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton is to be rebuilt Picture: THE CHESTNUT GROUP

The Blackbirds Inn in Woodditton was ravaged by a blaze in March after the building’s thatched roof caught fire and flames spread quickly through the pub.

Around 80 firefighters, from Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, were called to the scene at 10am on March 2 and spent several hours fighting the blaze.

Fortunately, staff inside the building at the time were able to escape without injury following a swift evacuation.

The fire shocked the community and villagers were quick to show their support by offering teas, coffees and blankets on the day of the blaze.

Fire crews tackled a blaze at The Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton, near Newmarket. Picture: CAMBRIDGESHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICEFire crews tackled a blaze at The Blackbirds Inn at Woodditton, near Newmarket. Picture: CAMBRIDGESHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

The majority of the damage from the fire was contained to the older part of the much-loved building.

Owners The Chestnut Group, who own six other pubs in the region, including The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, The Black Lion at Long Melford, and The Westleton Crown, near Southwold, said rebuilding work will begin in January.

The owners have been working closely with local planners and the council’s conservation officer to ensure the pub can be sensitively rebuilt.

Listed building consent has been granted and the pub is expected to reopen in the autumn next year.

Fire ravaged Blackbird at Woodditton that could re-open next yearFire ravaged Blackbird at Woodditton that could re-open next year

Philp Turner, founder of The Chestnut Group, said he is looking forward to welcoming back the pub’s loyal customers.

“I am so pleased we can move forward with our plans to renovate and reopen The Blackbirds Inn,” he said.

“I’d like to thank our loyal guests and local community for bearing with us and we very much look forward to welcoming them back next year.”

The Chestnut Group acquired the pub in 2016 and the Grade II-listed building was reopened in March 2017 as The Blackbirds Inn. It is believed a public house has been on the site since the mid-17th century.

With the pub only three miles from Newmarket, it has historically forged close links with the horse racing fraternity.

The pub became a favourite haunt for jockeys, particularly the legendary Lester Piggott – who insisted on many of his interviews being conducted over lunch there.

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