Sadness at fire-ravaged home which lies in ruins

Photo and census for the Hinderclay Cottage fire
Photo and census for the Hinderclay Cottage fire

A former resident of a house left in tatters after a fire says it was ‘dreadful’ to see it left in ruin.

Christopher Sturgeon lived in the house, on land known as Bridge Farm in Fen Road, Hinderclay, for seven years during the 1940s, moving out in 1949, before his aunt, Alice Walsh, inhabited the property.

It is believed the house currently belongs to the duck farming business Gressingham Foods, who, despite being based in Woodbridge, have a facility opposite the farmhouse. They were unavailable for comment when the Diss Express went to press.

Mr Sturgeon’s wife, Greta, told the Diss Express: “I was on the internet for something and this photo came up and I thought ‘that’s an old building, could it Bridge Farm?’

“When the Diss Express came out on I looked at it and I said ‘that’s Bridge Farm, isn’t it?’”

Mr Sturgeon added: “It was a lot different to what it was. There was a lot of stuff knocked down.

“It was a very old-fashioned house.”

Mr and Mrs Sturgeon inspected the building twice after the blaze - confirming their fears it was indeed Bridge Farm that suffered at the hands of the fire.

The 1901 census reveals the house was inhabited by James Sturgeon and his wife Susannah, along with their nine children; Alice, George, John, Alfred, Frederick, Thomas, David, William and Christopher’s father, Henry.

Mr Sturgeon explained the house used to be surrounded by a hedgerow, with fields at the back and front of the house part of Bridge Farm. There was also a cherry tree and a pear tree in the garden.

It was a fire last month which left the house in tatters.

Fire crews battled the fire, which started at 3am on Thursday, January 16, for more than eight hours, with strong winds helping the blaze spread throughout the derelict timber framed property.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Police said inquiries are still ongoing about the cause of the fire which left the farmhouse in Hinderclay in tatters.

The spokesperson told the Diss Express it was unclear from the latest investigation whether the fire was started deliberately or not.

Suffolk Police have appealed for anyone with information, or who witnessed the fire, to call Detective Sergeant Chris Hinitt on 101 quoting ST/14/149.