Bountiful Brigg

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
January 2013

As the festive celebrations die down and communities countrywide bid farewell to the old and welcome in the new, the towns people, are hoping that the successes of 2012 will help to ensure 2013 is prosperous.
Despite missing out on funding from the Portas Pilot initiative, Brigg’s application to be a Town Team Partner was successful, bringing with it a £10,000 Government grant which will be spent on improving the town to increase footfall and boost trade.

The town’s newly-established business partnership has just marked its first year in existence and has worked hard to develop a good community spirit among the business fraternity and residents alike.

Byron Teague of Brigg Fruit, Vegetable & Flowers shop in Wrawby Street, is chairman of the Brigg Town Business Partnership. He said the group had organised a number of events in its first year and had lots planned for 2013.

“We held a Briggstock acoustic music event which went very well and which will be repeated in 2013,” he said. “The £10,000 Portas fund grant will be used to develop history walks in the town and the rest will be spent on events to try and increase footfall.

“It has been quite a successful year. The re-introduction of free two-hour parking has been advantageous and new businesses have recently opened up.

“The town has definitely improved and the one good thing is that there are very few empty shops.”

Brigg Mayor, Councillor Carl Sherwood, said there had been lots of activity in the town.

“It’s been a busy year and we are looking forward to 2013. Highlights included the Olympic Torch coming through. The townspeople turned out in their thousands, and again to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“Brigg Lions held their very successful Summer Fayre and Beer Festival and Brigg won the Best Kept Town award for North Lincolnshire, awarded by the CPRE.

“Six new businesses have opened up in the last two months, bucking the national trend and in 2013 the ‘Brigg Raft’ is to return to Brigg from the National Maritime Museum in London, to be located in the heritage centre.

“The refurbishment of the Ancholme River walkways, in conjunction with the redevelopment of Lidl and Tesco, will take place and we normally have a weekend community led ‘clean up’ but in 2013 we are going for a full week.

Brigg is an historic market town on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds and for centuries has been home to a popular Thursday street market that now sells everything from locally grown fruit and vegetables to fresh Grimsby fish, sheepskin rugs and handmade crafts.

What sets Brigg apart from many towns is the number of quality independently-owned shops and boutiques. Instead of the stores you’ll find on every high street across the country, Brigg’s attractive paved streets and courts are home to kitchen and lighting specialists, quality clothing boutiques, traditional family-run butchers, Scandinavian housewares, and even a traditional sweet shop.

There is a smaller general market every Saturday, which is joined on the fourth Saturday of the month by the award-winning Farmers’ Market.

John Savident, Coronation Street’s Fred Elliot, opened Brigg Farmers’ Market in June 2000 with only fifteen stalls. In 2009 the town won the FARMA award for Rural Farmers’ Market of the Year and it now has thirty-six stalls selling everything from artisan breads, tasty preserves and botanical chocolates to fresh meat, locally-brewed beer and ostrich burgers.

It attracts around 5,000 shoppers to the town each month, providing a huge boost to the local economy and encouraging many food specialists and delicatessens to open. Brigg is fast developing as a ‘foodie’ town, complemented by quality inns, restaurants and cafes.

At a time when many high streets across the UK are facing shop closures, Brigg saw a number of new retailers and coffee shops open over the summer.

To encourage shoppers, North Lincolnshire Council offers two hours of free parking in its car parks in Brigg, a move which has been popular with shoppers and retailers alike.

But it’s not all about shopping. The town can offer delightful riverside walks, historic buildings and summer events. There are craft shops offering family activities and ghost walks in the winter months. The fishing and cycling are also hard to beat.

In the paved Market Place is The Angel, a seventeenth-century coaching inn that has seen a new lease of life over the summer with the opening of a new library and stylish courtyard café.

Paul Keane, owner of Grandad’s Shed furniture shop in Wrawby Street and the Loft Restaurant, is the man behind the new business.

“We have just opened the Café Courtyard in the wonderful glass atrium inside the Angel Hotel. We have introduced Lloyd Loom chairs with cast-based tables and solid ash tops, with a very large array of copper urns and palm trees, finishing off with two massive chandeliers, creating a unique environment for an exclusive Colonial Coffee or tearoom experience,” he said.

“What it used to be like thirty to forty years ago was my inspiration to return it back to its traditional roots. Our opening day, which coincided with the Christmas fayre in Brigg, was a resounding success with everyone commenting on the surroundings.”

Mr Keane is also vice-chairman of the Brigg Town Business Partnership.

“A dedicated team in the partnership has created a massive boost to the town centre. We reached our first annual meeting in November and we have achieved so much in our first year.

“We had a massive balloon launch to spread the word about BTBP, a 1950s dance to support the Queen’s Jubilee and a huge acoustic music festival. These are just a few events we organised this year – all of which generated much-needed cash to help to boost the town centre and the businesses involved.

“Winning a £10,000 grant from the Portas Town Team just finished off the year.”

Mr Keane said Brigg is buzzing. With only a couple of shops empty, he said the whole town feels as though it is very dynamic and rivalling bigger towns, while remaining very individual.

“We know 2013 will be even better, with more events planned to boost trade. Brigg is the best place to be and be seen,” he said.

Mr Keane added that 2012 had been a good one for Grandad’s Shed and The Loft Restaurant.

“It has been fantastic and in the current climate has surpassed all expectations, especially in the run-up to Christmas, with bespoke handcrafted furniture being very popular, along with our ability to have something special for the discerning customer with that ‘little bit different’ giftware.”

The Angel is home to the Brigg Heritage Centre, a free admission attraction that tells the story of how Brigg developed as an important crossing point on the River Ancholme.

In spring 2013, the Brigg Raft, a Bronze Age boat previously in storage in the National Maritime Museum will come to Brigg to be the centerpiece of the Heritage Centre.

More information can be obtained from Brigg Tourist Information Centre, which is open six days a week, on 01652 657053.

One of the area’s longest established businesses is Wallheads Country Clothing on the corner of Wrawby Street.

JB Wallhead & Sons men’s clothing store has been a family business in Brigg for 115 years, selling high-end designer town and country clothing. The popular shop sells jackets from names such as Barbour, Schoffel and Puffa.

Not only does it have strong links with the Brigg community, it also attracts customers from all over the country.

Proprietor, Richard Wallhead said: “We have been here 115 years and we are still going strong. It is a very busy time.”

Also based in Brigg is the region’s largest country store, Thomas Bell, which stocks some of the most upmarket and quality equestrian, country and shooting clothing seen throughout the area.

Its 10,000 sq ft store is also well known for its huge range of pet, smallholder and horse feed, farm livestock requirements, equestrian equipment and saddlery.

A Brigg based holiday firm has ensured the iconic Appleby’s Coach Holidays name will continue long into the future.

Radley Coach Travel, of Brigg & Barton upon Humber, has bought the trading name and telephone number from Deloitte, the administrators of the Bowen Travel Group.

Radley Holidays operates luxury coach tours and air holiday tours from the North and North East Lincolnshire areas to destinations all around the United Kingdom, southern Ireland, mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

Radley Holidays can provide an immediate comprehensive tour programme brochure and luxury new executive coaches and is planning to recreate the original Appleby livery.

It will continue to offer the prestigious door-to-door service on all tours greater than one night in duration, and local departure points for overnight tours.

Appleby Holidays will be a much smaller operation initially, offering a friendly and professional service, but will be expanded with a further travel office in the Grimsby or Louth area in the future.

Radley Holidays will continue to operate from its well established Travel Office in Chapel Court, Brigg and serve the Brigg and Scunthorpe areas.

Founded in 1991, the firm is run by Kevin and Joanne Radley.

“We have taken the Appleby name over but we are a localised service and it is a much smaller operation than Appleby’s,” said Mr Radley.

“Radley Holidays will continue to be based in Brigg and will serve the Scunthorpe area and Appleby Holidays will cover Grimsby and Louth.”

Appleby’s Coach Holidays was founded by William Appleby in 1913, the same year he established Appleby’s Ices. The company split in 2000 when the coach firm went into receivership and was sold to the Bowen Travel Group.

Appleby’s Coach Holidays closed in October 2012 after the Bowen Travel Group went into administration.

Preparations are underway in Brigg for the arrival of a very special link to the town’s past. A Bronze Age raft – the Brigg Raft – which is thought to date from around 600BC, and which was uncovered in the 1800s, is currently undergoing restoration work in York before it returns to the town to become the centrepiece of the newly-opened Heritage Centre.

It has been held in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich since it was re-excavated and raised in 1973.

Archaeologists have two theories as to the boat’s original purpose – one is that the flat-bottomed boat was needed as a ferry across the Ancholme; the other that it was round hulled and capable of ocean going.

Work is currently underway to carefully remove the layers of wax in which the boat was preserved.

North Lincolnshire Council is expecting the work to be completed in time to go on view to the public before the end of January.

It also wants to gather a wide range of other relics from Brigg’s past which can be displayed with it.

Standing at around eight metres long, the raft will sit in a £30,000 case and be the centrepiece of the centre which is located in The Angel, a sixteenth-century coaching inn that was of great importance to Brigg as far back as the days of Oliver Cromwell.

It functioned as a hotel until 1989 when it was closed, refurbished and re-opened in 1995 by Brigg Town Council as a community venue.

The centre opened in June and has been well received in the town with more than thirty volunteers helping out and 2,000 plus visitors.

2013 looks set to be a winning year for sporting organisations and the general public in Brigg.

North Lincolnshire Council is looking into improving the town’s outdoor sports provision by redeveloping Brigg’s recreation ground off Wrawby Road.

The draft proposal includes providing a new clubhouse with meeting rooms, social facilities and ten changing rooms – enough to meet the needs of the sports on site; a full size floodlit artificial grass pitch which could be used for hockey and football training; floodlit training courts for netball, tennis and football and reconfigured grass pitches.

A questionnaire has been sent to residents and sporting groups in the town to ascertain their views on the plans. Closing date for comments is 18th January 2013.

A North Lincolnshire Council spokesman said: “The Brigg recreation ground project has just started its consultation process. The draft scheme has been created for the public to share their views and opinions. The public can view the draft plan at Brigg Library, The Ancholme Leisure Centre and Brigg Local Link.

“We believe that good quality sport and leisure facilities are important to help make Brigg a better place to live and work. The recreation ground at Brigg is key to the town’s outdoor sports provision.”

North Lincolnshire Council has already invested in the gym at Ancholme Leisure Centre, Scawby Brook, Brigg by giving it a state-of-the-art refurbishment with high-tech Life Fitness equipment including cardiovascular and multi-functional resistance equipment.

The leisure centre also boasts a five-lane, twenty-five-metre swimming pool, a teaching pool, a five-court sports hall, two squash courts, a sauna and steam room, a multi-use games area (outdoor) and a café.

Councillor Carl Sherwood, Town Mayor of Brigg and North Lincolnshire Council’s cabinet member for customer services, sport and leisure, said: “We decided to refurbish the gym at Ancholme Leisure Centre to bring the facilities up to date and I’m sure the customers at the leisure centre will be pleased with the new state-of-the-art gym equipment.”

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