Firefighters called to blaze behind former Norwich pub
PUBLISHED: 12:41 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 06:59 22 November 2018
Firefighters were called to a blaze behind a former Norwich pub.
Crews from Sprowston, Earlham and Carrow were called to the blaze in a stable behind the former Magpie Pub, in Magpie Road, at just after 5.30am on Wednesday, November 21.
Firefighters wore breathing equipment as they battled to put out the flames.
Charred timbers of the old stable building at the back of the pub can be seen, but the flames have been extinguished.
One lane of Magpie Road was closed while crews pumped water on to the smouldering remains of the building.
The former pub itself, which is up for sale, was not damaged.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service watch manager Andrew Bilton said it was too early to say what had caused the blaze, which was confined to the building at the back of the former pub.
He said there were signs that rough sleepers had been bedding down in the building, but said nobody was in there when firefighters arrived.
He said: “It was well alight when we arrived and it took us about an hour to get the flames out, with 13 firefighters working on it.
“We’re now waiting for the building inspector to tell us if it is structurally safe.”
He added there had not been a need to evacuate nearby homes.
The Magpie pub has been sitting empty ever since it shut in 2006.
Last year the premises was put up for sale for £500,000 after securing planning permission for two semi-detached houses and four flats in 2016.
But, as reported last week, the property was put back on the market, this time with Brown and Co, which has put the guide price £140,000 lower at £360,000.
The site has planning permission to convert the 19th century main pub building into four flats, and for the derelict stable at the rear to become two one-bed semi-detached houses.
Until 2010, the pub was owned by the city council, when it was sold.
For a spell, the pub had been known as the Weighing Machine and the Weighing Chains because of a weighing machine which hung from the building.
It was used to weigh wagons and their merchandise before they headed into the city via Magdalen Gates.
Records show the property’s first licensee was a John Barker between 1806 and 1807.
According to its listing with estate agents, the pub is a locally listed building with its current use classed as a public house.