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Historic building in Newmarket sold for £465,000

Three commercial, properties in Newmarket town centre have gone under the hammer for £465,000.

Described by London-based auctioneers Allsop as a parade of shops and two vacant flats, the property in Wellington Street was owned by former Newmarket businesswoman Jane Webb, having been purchased many years ago by her late mother, Mary Foreman, who died in 2020 at the age of 93.

Jane’s sister, Mary, ran her men’s clothing business, Jock’s, from one of the shops, while Jane remembered hosting her 21st birthday party in the cellar of the former hotel.

Shops and flats in Newmarket's Wellington Street which have been sold at auction for £465,000
Shops and flats in Newmarket's Wellington Street which have been sold at auction for £465,000

The business premises are currently rented by Farthings dry cleaners, the Newmarket Journal, and Pops Barbers, with two self-contained flats on the first and second floors, one of seven rooms plus kitchen and bathroom and the other of two rooms, kitchen and bathroom. Both are currently vacant and in need of refurbishment.

The combined rentals of the three commercial premises are currently £39,000 a year.

The guide price was set by the auctioneers at between £350,000 and £375,000 but when the lot came up on Thursday, it was knocked down to the highest bidder for £465,000.

The name of the buyer has not been revealed and their plans for the property are not yet known.

One of the few surviving buildings from the old area to the north of the High Street which became known as The Rookery, the auctioned properties once housed The Fox and Goose public house in what was then called Fox and Goose Lane and can be dated to early in the 18th century.

Following the Iron Duke’s defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the street, and the pub were renamed, becoming the Wellington Hotel and Wellington
Street, and the hotel continued in business until 1932 when the proliferation of licensed premises in and around the High Street caused the authorities to refuse to renew some of their licences.

The Wellington Hotel retained its licence to sell alcohol but its owners, Greene King, decided it was not making enough money, and closed it down.

The Bury St Edmunds-based brewery then purchased Whitebridge House, a former veterinary practice at the junction of Cheveley Road and Ashley Road and turned it into the New Wellington whose first landlord was Archie Cornish, who had run the original Wellington Hotel.