England’s oldest hotel, devastated by fire last week may be demolished as early as this week. Structural engineers are currently inspecting the hotel, following the fire which began in an adjoining building at 5am on Friday and was still burning on Sunday.
The front of the building has partially collapsed and interior walls have been destroyed. A senior source within the fire service told the BBC that demolition work on the remains of the hotel, built in 1769, could begin as soon as today, but would be more likely to take place on Tuesday.
The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, told the BBC he would like to see the historic building’s facade rebuilt: “All the historic stuff inside has gone, you can’t replace it, but I hope and pray that they rebuild the frontage as it was, because it deserves to be there, because that’s what will preserve at least the veneer of the architectural continuity on the Cathedral Green.”
Hotel Owner Andrew Brownsword, who bought the 53-bedroom hotel in 2003 for £4.5m and transformed it to the four-AA-star Abode Exeter, said: “The Royal Clarence Hotel has long been a special place for my family and I and it is with great sadness that we witnessed events as they unfolded.
“We would like to thank all of our team who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and well being of our guests along with the outstanding efforts of the emergency services. Our thoughts are with all those affected in Exeter and in due course we will look to the future of the Royal Clarence Hotel.”