The former deanery at Lincoln Cathedral has been transformed into a new cafe and shop and The Lincolnite went for a first look.
The cafe and shop will open to the public for the first time on Monday, June 28, and are part of a wider £16.4 million project. It used to house the old deanery from the 1850s and was also formerly used as part of Lincoln Minster School.
The cafe will offer a range of light lunches and tasty treats and is run by Meadow Brown Restaurants, an independent family-run business that operates establishments across the country. The cafe has created at least 22 new jobs.
Meadow Brown Restaurants started in Peterborough in 2013 and operates cafes and restaurants at Nene Park and Nottingham Castle, as well as a hotel in Bedford and a Forest England site in Cheshire.
Company owner Raj Remgi told The Lincolnite: “It has so much history and I don’t have anything like this, so I wanted to apply for the contract and won it, and I am thrilled.
“It’s more about the building and its aesthetics that excites me. It feels amazing, the journey has been sensational. To be part of the cathedral is amazing.”
The new shop will boast a new contemporary space in the revamped visitor centre after moving from its old location inside the cathedral.
In addition to the previous stock, it will also have several new product lines, such as Lincoln Cathedral branded beer from Ferry Ales Brewery and chocolate from Kirton Lindsey business No. 12 Chocolatier for the upcoming Lincoln Imp trail.
The cafe and shop are part of the first phase of the project, which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as donations from the David Ross Foundation and a number of individual donors.
There are also be three meeting rooms available for commercial, charitable and community hire, along with a range of hospitality packages.
The next phase includes a learning centre for schools and organised educational groups. Work has already begun and is scheduled to be ready for the new school term.
Phase two will also include a discovery centre with interactive actives aimed at families, and an exhibition gallery telling the story of the people and artefacts of Lincoln Cathedral, including the Romanesque frieze carving.
Chapter Clerk Will Harrison told The Lincolnite: “It’s been absolutely fabulous. It’s been a long, and sometimes painful, journey through lockdown but it is exciting that we can soon welcome people into the shop and cafe.”
Lincoln Cathedral’s Commercial Manager Andrew Downie said: “I am very proud. I joined the team as part of the funding project in January last year and it’s been a privelege to be a part of.
“There have been bumps in the road with COVID, but I feel like an expectant father and very proud to be at this point where we are opening a beautiful shop and cafe in a beautiful building.
“I am particularly proud of the shop team who have worked very hard to turn it around quickly over the last week.”
Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln at the Cathedral, added: “It feels absolutely amazing that we finally arrived at this day of the first phase of our opening.
“So many people have contributed to this moment, staff and team here architects and designers and those who funded the project and without them it wouldn’t have been possible. It is a culmination of vision and hard work from numerous people and looking forward to welcoming everyone on Monday.”