New Japanese restaurant finds home in town’s Grade 1 listed building

Cupola House, in Bury St Edmunds, is set to be transformed into a new Japanese restaurant. Photo:Fle

Cupola House, in Bury St Edmunds, is set to be transformed into a new Japanese restaurant. Photo:Fleurets. - Credit: Archant

A Grade 1 listed building in the heart of Bury St Edmunds is set to be transformed into a new authentic Japanese restaurant.

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam G

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam Ghaemi. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

Cupola House, in the Traverse, will reopen later this year as Sakura.

The beautiful building has stood proudly in the town centre since 1693 when it was built as a private home.

However, it has taken on many guises in its tumultuous history.

The property has long been linked to English author Daniel Defoe - famed for having written Robinson Crusoe.

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam G

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam Ghaemi. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi


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Defoe is reported to have visited Bury St Edmunds in 1704, having just served a prison sentence for the publication of Shortest Way with the Dissenters, which angered the Anglican Church.

The property’s famous encounter has been immortalised by a plaque inside of building.

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However the site’s modern history is far more tragic.

In 2012, it was ravaged by a huge fire. The five-storey building suffered significant structural collapse and had to be supported by a 40 tonne long reach crane to save it crumbling completely.

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam G

The destruction at Cupola House, in The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, caused by fire. Picture: Mariam Ghaemi. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

Cupola House was subsequently rebuilt under the close guidance of Heritage England and has now been restored to the finest details of the original building.

In May 2017, steak and lobster restaurant Bourgee took over the site.

But in less than a year the company had entered administration and the grandiose building was once again forced to close its doors.

Bourgee’s other restaurants in Southend and Chelsmford were also forced to fold.

Since the closure, the prime location has lain empty.

It was quickly placed back on the market, under a new lease and a rental price of £75,000 a year, before being snapped up by Sakura at the beginning of this year.

Speaking of the arrival of the new restaurant Gareth Hatton from Fleurets, the agent overseeing the transaction on behalf of the landlord, OMC Investments said:“This is another significant milestone for the hospitality industry in Bury St Edmunds and indeed East Anglia.

“The letting of such a significant building demonstrates that there is still an appetite for independent operators looking to take on exciting new opportunities.

“I feel that the town will greatly benefit from such a restaurant.”

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