Thetford Thomas Paine hotel set to reopen

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 August 2010 | UPDATED: 10:03 16 September 2010

Candy Vine at the hotel

Candy Vine at the hotel

Rebecca Gough

Thetford's Thomas Paine Hotel - reportedly the birthplace of Norfolk's famous 18th century radical - could reopen in a matter of weeks following a complete refurbishment.

An historic hotel boarded up six months ago could open in a matter of weeks following a complete refurbishment.

Owners of Thetford's Thomas Paine Hotel - reportedly the birthplace of Norfolk's famous 18th century radical - are currently working to give the interior a luxurious feel, while maintaining its original 17th century features.

The £100,000 project is the brainchild of owners Kevin Peters and his partner Jeannie Moye, who also own The Pheasant in Kelling, near Holt.

Ms Moye, 54, who lives with Mr Peters near Ely, in Cambridgeshire, said: “We're trying to give Thetford something special and something of quality.”

The hotel, which was originally four Victorian cottages, closed its doors in February this year when manager Kevin Peters blamed a downturn in trade. But work by his brother David, and Ms Moye is about two thirds complete and the hope is to open in about six weeks.

All eight bedrooms are set to be individually decorated and downstairs people will have the choice of eating in an 18-seat fine-dining setting, or a 40-seat less formal restaurant, designed in a colonial style. These and a bar will be open to the public.

Bedrooms are in the process of being painted, furniture is arriving and the bar is being finished. Downstairs, as well as the restaurants and bar, there will be a function room for 40 people and a residents' lounge.

The work has brought about its own series of surprises however, including a pink and white stained glass window, uncovered from behind a laundry cupboard, and a set of items from the last refurbishment in 1990 which were secured in a wall cavity behind one of the showers.

This included a News of the World from January 7, 1990 and a hotel menu from Christmas 1989.

Mr Peters, 58, said: “We've encountered a lot of things along the way and everything was at that stage where it needed sorting out and we've replaced the plumbing and the electricity.

“I think part of what happened here previously was that it was trying to attract a pub trade and that didn't work. We do want to differentiate between the pub market and what we offer.”

Manager Candy Vine added: “I think it's absolutely fantastic. If this didn't open there would be such a part of Thetford's history that would be lost. I think there's a need for it in Thetford.”

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