Clifford’s Cottage is back after blaze

Newly restored and thatched - Cliffords Cottage in Bracklesham
Newly restored and thatched - Cliffords Cottage in Bracklesham

THE ‘gateway to Bracklesham’ engulfed by fire last November has risen from the ashes with builders restoring the grade-II listed cottage.

The 400-year-old building, Clifford’s Cottage, was a restaurant run by Peter and Carolyn Gray before the devastating blaze last year.

Now the refurbishment is nearly complete and the couple hope to reopen by mid-October.

“Thinking about going back in is quite daunting,” said Mrs Gray.

She said they will have to replace the kitchens and get everything back to normal before they reopen the doors, and they will not be able to start until September.

The thatched roof and everything in the building was lost in the blaze, but the four exterior walls survived the accident.

Now the building has been rethatched, and many of the oak beams inside have been replaced.

“The thatch is looking great,” said Mrs Gray.

She said the menu wold undergo minor changes but things should be as they always were when they reopen.

The couple lost their business and their home in the blaze, and Mrs Gray said: “I’m quite surprised we will be back in before Christmas.”

The rebuilt cottage will be a welcome sight to residents and holiday-makers, who gathered around the blazing building and expressed their sadness when the restaurant was destroyed.

Firefighters said the fire was accidental and was caused by a blow lamp.

Engines from across the district were called to the scene at 4.40pm on Saturday, November 3.

The incident was finally closed on Monday morning, after two days of fighting the blaze.