Friends of Wisbech Courthouse to launch with photographic and memories evening

THE last case may have been heard at Wisbech Courthouse – but a group of determined people has got together to try and ensure that it is remains as a public building.

The new Friends of Wisbech Courthouse are investigating ways the court on the Freedom Bridge roundabout could be used in the future, while still retaining the magnificent oak panelled courtroom.

The group’s launch will take place at a photographic and memories evening, at Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House in Wisbech on Wednesday May 25 at 7pm – and anyone with reminiscences or photos of the court are asked to get in touch as soon as possible.

Jane Melloy, former chairman of Fenland Magistrates, said: “We feel that the memories of those who have served the court, or appeared before the bench, should not be lost with the court.

“We do not want to lose this part of our heritage and recent history just because the courthouse has closed.”

The magistrates fought a spirited but unsuccessful campaign to save the court from the round of closures that led to the demise of more than 80 courts across the UK. The last case was heard in Wisbech last month.

The Friends - including magistrates, former magistrates and a solicitor - are furious that furniture from the magnificent oak-panelled courtroom has already been stripped out before its future is finalised.

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Seven heavy carved oak chairs have been moved to a room at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.

Margaret Angood, chairman of Fenland Magistrates, said: “They are totally incongruous, even though they improve the tone of the place immeasurably.”

Historic photographs from the court have been preserved for the town and are being displayed at Wisbech Museum. Leather-bound law books have also been retained in Fenland.

The court was opened in April 1957, when an article in the Wisbech Standard reported that the “fine new edifice” was a “worthy addition to the town”.

It said the main courtroom “combines the necessary dignified atmosphere with a light, airy and comfortable spaciousness”.

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