A serious blaze devastated the Grade II-listed Thornton Manor on the Wirral on Saturday leaving the historic house – and people’s wedding plans – in ruins.
The manor house, which was built in the mid 19th century, has become one of the North West’s most exclusive wedding venues.
Its website declares: “If you’re looking for a truly unique venue in impeccable British countryside, look no further than Thornton Manor Estate.
“With four exclusive venues, each tucked away in their own oasis of this extensive country estate, Thornton Manor offers a unique range of enchanting locations for your ceremony and celebration.”
Wedding guests who were staying at the manor when the blaze started at the weekend were woken up in the middle of the night and evacuated.
Staff at Thornton Manor are now making their way through contacting countless people who have had weddings cancelled due to the fire.
Merseyside Police are investigating the incident but have said there is nothing so far to suggest suspicious activity.
It took a significant amount of time for the fire to be put out.
Emergency services were first called at 9pm on Saturday night and were there well into Sunday still trying to extinguish the blaze.
Ben Ryder, from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), said it was “extremely challenging” with firefighters “working at height in difficult weather conditions”.
From 6pm on Sunday evening, fire engines were providing rolling relief cover every 30 minutes.
Manor road is still closed in both directions, causing some delays.
Here is some of the Twitter reaction to the fire:
A devastating blow for the Heritage of Wirral and the UK.
Fire damage at Thornton Manor. pic.twitter.com/SZfM71yq88
— Big Heritage (@Big_Heritage) February 7, 2022
As of now the closest image of the damage caused to Thornton Manor after the blaze had finished.
— North West News (@HeartNWNews) February 8, 2022
An aerial shot of the house, showing the scale of the destruction.
— Wirral Globe (@WIRRALGLOBENEWS) February 8, 2022
A shot of firefighters tackling the blaze at some point during Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Last night, Liverpool RRT served fire crews of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service at Thornton Manor fire, with RRT's Signature burger and continued to provide hot food and drinks to the crews throughout the night. pic.twitter.com/zHvDOhznjb
— Rapid Relief Team UK (@RRT_UK) February 7, 2022
Rapid Relief Team UK provided hot food and drinks to the fire crews who were there long into the night.
The latest update from MFRS was issued shortly after 3pm on Monday afternoon.
Incident Commander Ben Ryder said: “On Saturday evening fire crews attended a large fire at Thornton Manor, fortunately staff and guests were evacuated safely from a wedding reception being held and no one was hurt.
“The incident was prolonged and extremely challenging, with firefighters working at height in difficult weather conditions in a complex grade 2 listed building.
“Firefighters worked relentlessly night and day throughout the weekend to ensure the fire was fully extinguished and I would like to express my thanks to them for their persistence and determination.
“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service remains at the scene and a full investigation is being carried out.”
Thornton Manor was recently given a deadline to remove their semi-permanent wedding marquees by the UK Planning Inspectorate, a decision which the manor said would have “huge consequences” for the business.
An appeal against the decision was made, but was turned down, which prompted a petition to save them. The petition has already gained more than a thousand signatures.
Thornton Manor was given six months to remove the marqueeshttps://t.co/auT72DvsPa
— My Wirral – Liverpool Echo (@MyWirral) February 2, 2022