A report from the scene of a major fire at the Three Horseshoes Pub in Abbots Ripton is followed by a telephone interview with Lord de Ramsey, upon whose land is stands. Paul Stainton and Janine Machin are the interviewer and reporter. This was broadcast at 07:20 on 24th March 2010 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PS: We’re waking up to fire damage to an iconic building in Cambridgeshire this morning. The damage is being assessed at the Three Horseshoes pub in Abbots Ripton close to Huntingdon. The thatched roof of the seventeenth century Grade II listed building set light yesterday afternoon. At it’s height, there were six fire engines and one turntable ladder at the scene. No-one was hurt. BBC Look East’s Janine Machin reports: (TAPE)
JM: It has stood in the village of Abbots Ripton for more than three hundred years, but it’ll be some time before The Three Horseshoes Inn can welcome customers again. Two passers-by raised the alarm at around four o’clock yesterday afternoon.
Passer-by: We came down the hill into the village and saw flames coming up from behind the chimneystack on the building. We saw a TV on in the upstairs window, and dragged a bench from the front of the building and stood on it and actually broke the upstairs window and woke the guy and got him out the building.
Fireman: As you can see from behind me the chimney is well exposed. We have sectioned off the area in front of the building, because we can’t make that assessment from here, as to whether it is safe or not. We always take the precaution, and at such times that the fire is out, we will then request the attention of a structural engineer to make that assessment for us.
JM: It’s not yet known how the fire started. Investigations should begin today. (STUDIO)
PS: Well the pub sits on the de Ramsey estate, and it’s owned by Lord de Ramsey. We can call him John though. Good morning John.
LdR: Good Morning.
PS: When did you hear about this fire?
LdR: Well I was actually on a train going to London about four o’clock.
PS: Yes. And devasating because it’s a beautiful building, isn’t it.
LdR: Well first of all it’s a beautiful building. Secondly about five years ago we completely rebuilt it and added six rooms to it and really made it an important part of the community, like the village shop. And to see all that hard work go up in flames ..
PS: Yes. We heard in that report that there was somebody actually in the building?
LdR: There was, yes. And thank goodness the passers-by were sensible enought to wake them up and get them out. Thank goodness, as I say again, that there was no loss of life or damage to people. That’s really important.
PS: Your good lady wife was first alerted wasn’t she?
LdR: My wife was actually coming back from a meeting, and came through the village and saw it just after it had started.
PS: Heartbreak I suppose. Any idea as to what may have started the fire?
LdR: All I know is that obviously the Fire Service who have done a fantastic job with the amount of resources they put into it, say that there was. possibly there was the log fire. that was the centre of the start of the fire. But we don’t really know yet.
PS: What effect is it likely to have on the village and how bad is the damage, do you have any idea?
LdR: Well it seems as if the new part of the pub. which the new rooms have been saved, but all the rest will have to be rebuilt. And I have very strong feelings about village communities, and how they used to work, and how they should work now, and we read a lot about shops, and post offices and pubs all closing. And I think it’s really important to a local community that they are all there and available. So all of us are going to miss the pub. while we rebuild it. I am sure it’s going to take two years to rebuild.
PS: Can you rebuild? Can you afford to rebuild?
LdR: Well we are insured, and obviously it’s early days, and we have yet to go into all of that. Perhaps one needs to look at it as an opportunity to rebuild it even better than it was before, rather than saying, isn’t it awful.
PS: It’s a pub that really was at the heart of the community.
LdR: And it was beautifully done too. It was actually a real pleasure to go into, and we had.. we have a really good landlord and so on. So there is people’s employment to think about as well.
PS: It does affect so many people. Well hopefully you can get it rebuilt as soon as possible, and it can be back at the centre of that community very very shortly. That’s Lord de Ramsey, John to us, from the de Ramsey estate. A fire there at Abbots Ripton at the Three Horseshoes Pub, which is going to take potentially two years to get rebuilt.