These pictures show the scale of the damage to the former park keeper’s lodge in West Bank Park after fire ripped through it.
The building has been devastated by the blaze. The cause hasn’t been confirmed, but it is “suspected to be deliberate”, the North Yorkshire fire service said today.
At its height on Tuesday evening (November 8), the fire was being tackled by three fire crews.
By daylight on Thursday (November 9) the building was still smouldering, with smoke emerging from the upper floor and roof. Slates crashed from the roof as the heat took hold.
Firefighters returned after 8am and trained jets on both front and back of the building, dousing the remaining fire and damping down the building.
A spokeswoman for the fire service said: “We are putting it down as ‘suspected deliberate’. The building is unsafe. We can’t get into it for a full investigation.”
They have handed the case over to North Yorkshire Police. A spokesperson for the force said: “An investigation is ongoing to determine the circumstances around the incident.”
A group of volunteers has been campaigning to turn the old lodge into a cafe and visitor centre highlighting the work of renowned botanist James Backhouse, who lived in the park.
West Bank Heritage Project founder Jane Cullen issued this statement:
This just not just about bricks and mortar. This project is about bringing people together, building pride in our community, celebrating our incredible history and protecting the future of our park.
We now need this more than ever, and want to work with everyone in the community to get back on track.