Owners give update on George

The fire damaged roof of The George Hotel

Following the fire at The George hotel in Rye in July, Rye Conservation Society raised its concerns about the historic building deteriorating further. The George’s owners Alex and Katie Clarke have now issued the following statement:

“We’re aware of the concern locally regarding the state of The George and the progress of its repair.

“We appreciate that the hotel is not only a historically important part of the High Street in Rye, but also a much loved piece of the community. We’re working closely with a team of the country’s leading heritage consultants to make sure that The George is repaired in a way that is both safe and sensitive to its condition as a historical building.

“While it is undoubtedly sad to see it exposed to the elements in this way, we have been advised by our structural engineers and architects that the water damage that was sustained during the fire means that the current wet weather is unlikely to do any further harm.

“The design for the external scaffolding is underway (with support and consultation from East Sussex Highways to preserve access to the High St and Lion St) and we are currently working on the complex internal propping that needs to be installed before the external scaffold can be erected.

Smoke billows from the building

“The building is undergoing detailed weekly inspection by our team of structural engineers, who will report back if anything changes or if any emergency repairs are required, and we have scaffolders on standby and ready to go as soon as the designs are approved.

“We absolutely understand the sadness, concern and frustration over the damage sustained to our beautiful building (and we share it!), but we are having to be led by the advice and opinions of our expert team, and to put our emotional response to this devastating fire aside as best we can.

“We are moving forward as fast as we can to reinstate the fabric of The George in a way that prioritises the safety of the workers and of our local community. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we undertake what is a highly complex project.”

Firefighters on a ladder and cherry picker check the roof

Image Credits: Sharon Devold , Anthony Kimber .


  1. Alex and Katie, thank you so much for the update. I’m sure you are doing everything you can to protect and eventually reinstate the George. With you all the way!

  2. What commentators of unfortunate events like this seem to forget is that the safety of the restorers and the public must be made the first priority, before any work is carried out. Having recently visited a building that was fire damaged to a greater extent than the ‘George’ and viewing its ‘reincarnation’ I feel that once the work on the ‘George’ is completed; few will ever know it was ever fire damaged. It will just take time to complete.

  3. Thanks for the update Alex and Katie.

    It’s important the insurance company keep in mind the value of your reputation as well as the impact on the high street footfall whilst the works progress.

    When we had our fire on 17th April 2017 we proposed that our insurance company agreed to pay for images on the hoarding which they agreed to.

    Initial quotations came in around £5,000 so we shopped around and were delighted when we found https://www.bannerworld.co.uk/ ( 01253 897840 ) who did an incredible job for much less.

    The high street need not look like a building site and the right images will pay you and the high street dividends.

    It’s a pity you don’t still have the space under the building where the restaurant is now to facilitate the copious amount of materials once the work starts. Let’s hope a park and ride scheme can be arranged out of town perhaps by freda gardham for the workers to ease the burden on the other retailers.

    Good luck with the restoration.

  4. As a over seas visitor it was so sad to witness the fire in July.i will be over in Rye again July 1920 do you think the bars at least will be open by then.All the best to everyone involved in the restoration R.freeman

  5. We look forward to staying at the George again once all the work has been completed. I am sure the George will be back better than ever, it it going to take time but it will be worth the wait.


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