A FORMER canal wharf at Froghall Basin on the Caldon Canal in Staffordshire is being brought back to life, thanks to a partnership between the Canal & River Trust and a local entrepreneur.
Sarah Hirst and Peter Moore from the trust have worked hard to upgrade the area and find a new tenant for the beautiful former corn store warehouse.
Café owner Emma Atkinson saw the potential of converting the attractive heritage building into a café and gift shop, with holiday accommodation for rent upstairs. She has also arranged for a new trip boat to operate from the wharf, making the whole area into an attractive visitor destination.
It’s a real family affair – Emma has named the café after her 92-year-old grandmother Hetty and her mother will be running the gift shop.
Emma explained: “My nan Hetty is my recipe for success so I have named the tea shop after her. I found out we had secured the lease about 15 months ago and since then we have worked hard with the Trust, architects and surveyors to get the building ready to be open in time for Easter this year.
“My vision was to be sympathetic to the original building but at the same time incorporate stylish, modern furniture to give the interior a warm, cosy feeling for visitors.
“Froghall Wharf was once a thriving hive of industry. You can still see evidence of the lime kilns and a railway track. I have long admired the place and it is wonderful to be instrumental in making it into a buzzing tourist destination.”
Sarah Hirst, property surveyor with the Canal & River Trust, said: “Emma has done a fantastic job of creating a modern, attractive café, shop and holiday accommodation. The transformation has been incredible. The Trust works hard to make the most of all our unusual canalside buildings. Our aim is to celebrate our rich waterway heritage by supporting sensitive restorations and finding new 21st century uses for these wonderful structures.
“We have worked closely with her every step of the project, including creating a new pathway to the building. This was very much a collaborative project and we wish her the best of luck with her new business when it opens at Easter.”
Hetty’s Tea Shop is due to be open six days a week, Tuesday – Sunday, and the trip boat will operate on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.