A new era is dawning for one of Lynn’s well-known landmarks, the Wenns in Saturday Market Place, as a major renovation project progresses to its next phase.
Plans for the Grade II listed building which has stood empty for around two years include eight self-contained flats above retained commercial premises, intended to be used as a restaurant and bar.
Carrying out the renovation programme is local building firm TR Maintenance, based at Bryggen Road on North Lynn Industrial Estate, which is working closely with CNC Building Control and the borough’s conservation officer, Pamela Lynn.
Tom Hopkins, director of TR Maintenance, whose co-director, Robert Bramham is heading up the project, said the first phase, consisting of two first-floor flats was nearing completion while work on the flats in phase two was already under way.
The Phase I flats, which have a separate rear entrance to the premises, are both one bedroomed, with one boasting a spectacular view across to Lynn Minster from a spacious living room.
Working on such an old building has its challenges – and surprises. Said Robert: “We have seen timber which ranges from just a few years old to some which is possibly as much as 400 years old. We came across old boat masts used in some of the roof space, which are still there.
“We have been working closely with the conservation officer, who has been very supportive, and are aiming to retain as much as we can of the original property.”
This includes wooden panelling, an original wooden staircase, windows and exposed brickwork. One feature, known to generations of pub-goers, which is going to remain in situ is the original wooden bar in the ground floor commercial area.
Said Tom: “On the commerical side negotiations are continuing, but the intention is for there to be an eaterie with a bar and the existing bar has always been on the plans.”
It is anticipated that the whole project, which is costing several hundreds of thousands of pounds, will be complete by July. Said Tom: “As a local firm we are very proud to be part of this renovation programme and we aim to achieve the highest standards. When it has all been completed, it will be a breath of fresh air for this part of town.”
TR Maintenance, founded two years ago, employs 11 staff and works on all kinds of construction projects ranging from new builds to property maintenance.
The building was first used as a pub in 1872, when the licensee was Simon Claxton Luckly, who was succeeded by James Wenn in 1877 and Lizzie Wenn in 1889. The pub sign shows a typical East Anglian wherry.