A guide to the georgian town of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire United Kingdom - Hubtrail
Wisbech (pronounced Wiz-beach) is a small but growing market town in Cambridgeshire, known as 'The Capital of the Fens'. It is situated on the borders of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. Wisbech sits close to the mouth of the wash with the River Nene running through it. The name ‘Capital of the Fens’ comes from when Wisbech was a thriving port, before the River Nene silted up and forced trade to move to the local seaport of Kings Lynn. Although areas of the town and surrounding land sit lower than sea level there has been no recoding of the river flooding since January 1978 when a large storm hit the east coast.
The 2001 census gave a population for the town as 20,200, however this is expected to be more now due to the influx of migrant workers who come here looking for work. The area surrounding Wisbech supplies excellent agricultural and horticultural growing land, courtesy of when the sea water was drained off of the land, and with this comes the opportunity of many land jobs, which the migrant workers have filled.
Although Wisbech is a small historic market town it also has very good shopping neighbours in Kings Lynn and Peterborough. If you are looking to stay with the more traditional towns with history then Kings Lynn can still appeal along with Spalding and Downham Market. March is very much like Wisbech, small with not that many shops, mainly just the local market but it does have a canal which you can walk along side. Sutton Bridge is historic for the Swing Bridge which spans the River Nene. It also has a full working port for those of you who are boat lovers and a working lighthouse. If you catch the bridge when it's turning then be prepared for a long wait.
A street map of Wisbech
Elgood Brewery can be found along this road, as well as Peckover House.
you can find the Octavia Hill Birth place along this road.
Although small, this town offers some spectacular Georgian architecture which flanks the River Nene, and within the Crescent that surrounds the towns castle. Standing on the Old Town Bridge, which connects the North and South Brinks, you can see Peckover House standing tall along the North Brink. Peckover House is now owned by the National Trust and open for public viewing, as well as being used for weddings. Further along the North Brink you will find Elgoods Brewery and gardens, which is open to the public as well as being a fully working business establishment, supplying local pubs with its beer. On the opposite side of the river situated on South Brink you can see the house of Octavia Hill birth place.
In the centre of the town stands the castle, originally built in 1087 by William I. There is not that much left of the original castle, but over the years new ones have been built using the building materials from the original castle until you have the building that sits there today, which since 1816 has been known as the regency villa. Surrounding the castle is the crescent, a long line of houses and now businesses in the same superb Georgian architecture. One of the most notable businesses around the crescent is the newly refurbished library.
The castle and georgian buildings around the crescentClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some maps of the Wisbech area
The town has various churchs and chapels of varying sizes offering religion to christians and Catholics alike. However the most noticible church in the town is St Peters which stands proud on the edge of the market place surrounded by its lovely gardens where you can sit and relax enjoying the world go by.
different views of St Peters Church and GardensClick thumbnail to view full-size
Because of the outstanding architecture in the town, it has been used on various occasions for screening films, usually done around the crescent and at Peckover House. Some of the films to be screened here are BBC 1’s adaptation of Charles Dickens ‘David Copperfield and ITV’s Micawber starring David Jason. A "Wisbech Rock Festival" appears in the film Still Crazy and the 2008 feature film Dean Spanley was also largely filmed in Wisbech.
Every year Wisbech takes part in the Anglia in Bloom competition and in 2008 Wisbech achieved the ultimate honour in the Anglia in Bloom competition, a gold standard across all areas including best local authority parks displays, best schools project, most improved entry in 2008. A Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal was awarded to Wisbech this same year and Wisbech was finally judged as the Best Large Town in the Anglian Region. Due to these results Wisbech was nominated for the 2009 Britain in Bloom competition, which saw them winners of the Large town category. Wisbech was also awarded 2 green flags for Wisbech Park and St Peters Church Gardens 2008. In 2009 Wisbech were winners again and received the gold award for the best large town in the Anglia in Bloom competition.
Another annual event that takes place in this quiet market town is the Rose Fair. This started more than 40years ago when roses were sold in St Peters Church Gardens to raise money for the restoration of the church. As the years have progressed so has the Rose Fair with hundreds of people from all over the country now descending on this Wisbech to take in the experience that the Rose Fair offers. Other Churches and organisations have since joined the act so that we can now enjoy the event, as we know it today. The fair takes place from Wednesday to Saturday with flower exhibits based on a designated theme being seen in the various churches around the town. There are also craft, bric ‘n’ brac and various other stalls located in the St Peters Church Gardens for the whole week for people to browse and buy from. The Grand finale is on the Saturday when the float parade takes place. At the head of the parade sits the Rose Queen who is hand picked from many applicants from the town, and in 2009 this prestigious position went to Hannah Pears. Again the floats are designed to meet a theme for that year and there can be as many as 20+ floats a year take part. Many of the floats are from the local schools, brownie, cubs, guides, and scout groups. However, saying that some of the local businesses also take part. The floats parade twice during the day with prizes being awarded to the best one, which in 2009 went to Emneth Primary School with the Glenn Miller sound. In 2010 the fair will take place from Wednesday June 30th to Saturday July 3rd and all are welcome.
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