The battle begins to keep Cupola House

Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds surrounded by scaffold as builders calculate the damage to the building.
Cupola House, Bury St Edmunds surrounded by scaffold as builders calculate the damage to the building.
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THE placing of scaffolding to support the fire- damaged Cupola House means it stands a chance of restoration, an English Heritage expert says.

John Ette, team leader for English Heritage in the east and an inspector of ancient monuments, said on Wednesday: “There’s a fine line between total loss and what you can save. Now it’s supported it stands a chance. I hope we will try to save as much as possible.”

Mr Ette said the damage to the 17th century building was ‘very distressing’. He had sent an engineer to inspect it immediately after the fire, then taken part in talks on how to save as much as possible.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader John Griffiths, in a letter published in today’s Bury Free Press (Page 14), thanks those who worked to reduce the impact of the fire on the building and the town economy and promises every effort will be made to restore the landmark.

The council said on Wednesday that the debris taken out would be recorded and if it could be saved or used to make new pieces, it was being taken to storage.

Parts of the building are being dismantled by hand with the help of a crane-supported cage. Work had to stop until the supporting scaffolding was finished after it was found supports were moving.

Skinner Street remains closed but only three businesses are still affected. Sahara has moved stock to a unit in Cornhill and is assessing its condition. Bella Lingerie says on its website that all its stock has been smoke-damaged but it plans to reopen after redecoration in four to six weeks. Jessops staff are working in the Ipswich and Cambridge branches until they can get back into the building and customer queries are directed to those shops.

White boards carrying information about the situation, which have been near Croasdales Chemist, have moved to Moyse’s Hall.

The council is also compiling a record of Cupola House memories, which can be left at the Tourist Information Centre, or at Moyse’s Hall, emailed to or sent to The Communications Unit, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU.

Businesses affected by the fire can keep customers informed via the Bury Free Press and its website. Email or call 01284 757821.