Marvellous market town of the Wolds
Glynis Fox visits Louth, a lively market town proud of its unique ambience, which continues to draw shoppers, browsers and visitors from miles around.
On the doorstep of the wonderful Lincolnshire Wolds, it is not only home to about 16,000 people, but also serves an affluent rural catchment area.
And it’s easy to see why, there’s places of interest to explore, leisure attractions, thriving community groups and a shopping experience which offers lots of variety, thanks to the town’s high number of independent traders.
The varying size of shop premises in the town centre means that private businesses sit cheek by jowl with a sprinkling of national retailers and among the mix you can find everything from homegrown foods to quirky homewares, smart clothing and unique gifts.
Food-lovers, who are keen to support local producers are spoilt for choice – there’s an excellent selection of award-winning shopkeepers waiting to serve them and talk about the provenance of their products. Names that spring to mind include Trevor Fairbairn Butchers, Pocklingtons Bakery, Meridian Meats Family Butcher and The Cheese Shop.
Louth has its own department store too – Eve & Ranshaw – a prominent name on the shopping scene since its establishment in 1781 and a place to find men’s and women’s fashions, footwear, household linens and giftware.
Choose to visit on one of the town’s bustling market days – Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays – and you can enjoy the added colour and buzz created by various stallholders and stalls laden with everything including fruit and vegetable, flowers, books and clothing.
Any time you take a walk around the town’s main street and alleys, you are liable to come across business owners who have diversified, changed direction or alternatively decided that Louth is the idea place for an enthusiastic entrepreneur to start a new enterprise.
One of the newest shops to open is Arthur’s in Eastgate, which is owned by former market trader Helen Harvey. It opened its doors in mid-March. Helen used to have a menswear stall on Louth market – and has also traded in Mablethorpe.
“I used to sell menswear from a market stall until Christmas time, but decided to stop because of the general decline in markets and have a rethink,” said Helen.
“I felt there was a gap in the local market to sell men’s suits, along with other menswear, including trendy and classic shirts, jumpers, socks and other essentials, and I decided to take on shop premises. I’ve called the business Arthur’s after a new arrival in my family.”
Helen said many regular customers were dismayed when she said that she was giving up her market stall, but they cheered up when she told them she would still be happy to serve them!
“I enjoy meeting and talking to my customers. Many were disappointed when I said I was no longer having a market stall, but they were pleased when I told them about my shop. Many have already been in and supported me,” she said.
Chef Ian Smith is originally from the Louth area and he decided it was the ideal place for his first business. The town has a variety of pubs and eateries but, as the owner of Smith’s Pie Shop, which opened in New Street in mid-March, Ian is offering something new for locals and visitors to enjoy. His move has also created two jobs.
“I have been working away in London and Yorkshire, but I decided to return to the area and open my own business, specialising in pie, mash and peas, and I was attracted to premises in New Street,” he said.
“Louth is a lovely market town with lots of potential and New Street tends to attract good footfall.”
Ian, who wants to offer something a bit different, also caters for people with vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free diets and he only stocks beer from micro-breweries.
He is opening six days a week from 11.30am until 6pm on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursday, but extending his hours until 9pm on market days – Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
A Louth business has expanded after buying its first fully-owned office – thanks to a six-figure loan from HSBC.
Residential and community support service Alderson, which launched in 1996, and is made up of an 18-bed residential home, Alderson House, and Libertas, which provides at-home care.
The business employs 150 people and the care home specialises in supporting those with mental health conditions.
Since its inception, Libertas’ head office has been run out of rented property but, last year, founder and owner Tom Carter decided the business needed a more permanent home.
The company’s new base, which is in Eastgate, is twice the size of its previous premises.
“The care of our community is my passion and we strive to provide an exceptional service which helps the lives of those who need extra support,” said Mr Carter.
“In our rented property we found we were becoming limited by the space and wanted to meet the growing demand for our services.
“HSBC’s support has been vital to our progression and owning our own property will allow us to support so many more local people.
“It also means we can develop the space to our exact needs; having this flexibility is invaluable in the care sector and my team and I are thrilled to now be in our new home.”
LOCAL BUSINESS WITH INTERNATIONAL REACH
John Taylors is a longstanding family firm of estate agents, surveyors, valuers and auctioneers who have had a presence in Louth since the 1850s. With offices in Cornmarket Chambers and auction rooms in The Wool Mart, Kidgate, their team’s experience and knowledge of the local residential and commercial market is invaluable.
Robert Laverack, chartered surveyor and director, specialises in residential valuations and has a particular interest in period homes, mindful of looking to match people and their lifestyles with potential properties.
“Our in-depth, local knowledge distinguishes us from other agents,” said Robert, “as well as a professional service from our friendly team. We can help not only with residential property sales but also lettings, valuations for probate, house clearances and commercial property.”
James Laverack, chartered surveyor and director, oversees the auction rooms where he conducts the monthly sales of antique furniture, paintings, ceramics, glass, toys and collectables, silver, jewellery and household items.
“When we first started the auction rooms thirty years ago,” James explained, “our customers were mostly from the local area but the adoption of online bidding now brings us buyers from all over the world. It really has gone from strength to strength, with international reach at the click of a button.
“We have had some fascinating finds in the past year, including a hidden collection of 19th-century crystal jewellery in the secret drawer in a Victorian chest of drawers. Many items for the sales come from house clearances which our team deal with sensitively and efficiently, while trying to maximise the income for our client.”
John Taylors have already sold some items from the estate of the late David Robinson OBE, who was a long-term resident of Louth and past editor and contributor to Lincolnshire Life. On Tuesday 22nd May lots for auction will include David’s unique collection of more than 20,000 vintage postcards – a collection he built for more than fifty years – mostly on the themes of Lincolnshire people, events and places.
“It has been a major task, undertaken by Jean Howard, former curator at Louth Museum, to sort the collection into approximately 100 lots. We are expecting a lot of interest from collectors and people with a strong interest in local history. The sale will also include books, mineral and rock samples and fossils from David’s collections.”
If you would like more information on the portfolio of services offered by John Taylors visit: www.johntaylors.com or call: 01507 603648.
QUALITY AND EXPERTISE FROM STRIACROFT JEWELLERS
As the area’s longest established family jewellers, Striacroft Jewellers is celebrating operating from its Butcher Lane, Louth store for 40 years this May. Owner Oliver Cartledge is the second generation of his family to run the business and he continues to run a busy in-house workshop of trained jewellers, engravers and goldsmiths.
“Quality is at the heart of all we do,” said Oliver, “and for all our jewellery and watch collections. We pride ourselves on sourcing some of the finest in diamond, gold and silver jewellery available. We offer a full repair service for watches and jewellery of all kinds. Customers are also invited to come and view a selection of pre-owned Rolex and Omega watches.”
Striacroft are main agents for a collection of leading watch brands including Citizen, Junkers, Zeppelin, Daniel Wellington and Lorus. Their jewellery collections feature exciting designs from Hot Diamonds, Aviv, Arum, my iMenso, The Real Effect and many more. With a wide choice of beautiful engagement and wedding rings there is something for all tastes and budgets.
To celebrate their Anniversary they will be holding special offers in store.
Step inside the store to experience the true variety and quality of choice available; alternatively visit the website to view and buy online at www.striacroft.co.uk or Tel: 01507 604029.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND BUILD
Mark Vigrass Ltd Landscaping fits in ideally alongside the business’ fencing and forestry activities. Taking the customer’s designs and plans, they can create your garden the way you want it. From the initial idea through to final planting, they can offer the complete service, from supplying the plants and materials to manufacturing bespoke rose arches, fruit cages, pergolas, steel edging for your lawn and borders or obelisks to suit your individual needs. From raised flower and vegetable beds to turfing and hard surfacing, they can do it all. From the largest of gardens to the smallest, all homes deserve that special place where the outdoors can be enjoyed all year round.
Mark Vigrass Ltd can design and build all types of gardens and areas from functional gardens to formal gardens, from play areas to walk through wildflower meadows, turning a blank canvas into a spectacular new oasis, or alternatively just give your garden a new lift.
For more pictures and information please visit the website: markvigrass.co.uk or call 01507 604201 or 07971 190345.
STEP INTO SPRING STYLE
Are you ready to shed your winter look? Step glamorously into spring and be spellbinding this season with enduring elegance that keeps all eyes on you, with stunning collections from Geox, Unisa, Peter Kaiser, The Flexx, Hogl, Capollini, Riva and Lisa Kay.
Stand out from the crowd in pastel, bright and metallic hues, whether you’re wanting to be loud and proud or subtle and shy. You can be sure to find something to suit your individual style. We like to give our customers the opportunity to try new styles. Combining this with affordability, quality and service, customers really gain the best value of their purchases.
Daniella’s is excited to show you their wonderful range of shoes, sandals, mules and trainers, all sure to step up your spring style in an instant, so why not visit them on Little Eastgate in Louth.
SPRING/SUMMER 2018 AT ORCHID BOUTIQUE
Orchid Boutique offers lifestyle collections for the modern woman.
“We understand our customers who no longer wish to slave to follow the latest fashion trends, yet still desire to dress with confidence and flair. Our carefully selected styles and colours allow the simplicity to cherry-pick the latest looks to mix and match, even across the brands, creating a unique range of outfits from just a few pieces or to simply buy a couple of key pieces that fit in with your existing wardrobes, giving you an instant update.”
Spring/Summer 2018 fashion colour trends cover a broad range, offering pretty as-a-picture pastels, (Bianca, Le Comte, Olsen, Monari, Frank Walder), whilst the other end of the scale takes on much bolder dressing with reds and blues, orange and cerise to lime green (Oui, Bianca, Frank Lyman, Gollehaug and Just White).
POINTS OF INTEREST
Visitors to Louth will find all manner of interesting places to explore and those who are thinking of moving to the area will be thrilled to know that it has a lively mix of organisations.
St James’ Church, which dates back to the 15th century, has what is claimed to be the tallest spire of any medieval church in the country – at 295ft high.
In addition to hosting regular services of worship the church, with its coffee shop and a gift and bookshop, is also a regular venue for cultural events, from classical music, to visual arts and contemporary dance.
The Greenwich Meridian line runs through the town as it travels from north to south around the world. Shoppers can see it in the pavement in Eastgate where there is also a plaque on the wall.
The line passes through the town’s Cordeaux High School, one of only three schools in the world to lie exactly on the Meridian. The long-distance Greenwich Meridian Trail runs from Peacehaven in East Sussex, finishing 273 miles later at the coast at Sand Le Mere in East Yorkshire.
Louth Museum is found in Broadbank and is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am–4pm, from April through to October. It is run by Louth Naturalists, Antiquarian and Literary Society, popularly known as ‘Ants and Nats’.
The Museum is well worth dipping into – check out house painter and newspaper reporter William Brown’s fascinating 360-degree panorama of Louth in the 1840s, an amazing painting reflecting life in the town as seen from the top of St James’ Church.
A more recent addition to the Museum is a portrait of its late Honorary Life President David Robinson OBE, painted by local artist David White.
Current displays include an ongoing World War One exhibition, complete with a Vickers gun and The Mystery of the Marsh – showcasing Anglo-Saxon finds from Little Carlton, four miles from Louth. It runs until June.
Interested in treading the boards or simply a fan of live performances? Check out Louth Playgoers Society Ltd, which runs Louth Riverhead Theatre in Victoria Road.
Riverhead Producers (open to those aged 12–24 years old) create, plan and run musical and comedy events and Riverhead Youth Theatre offers drama workshops and theatre training. The venue hosts a varied programme of plays and shows and can also be hired for conferences.
INSPIRING A NEW GENERATION OF INTERIOR DESIGNERS
Clive Rhodes is busy not only fulfilling new design commissions but also teaching a new generation the skills required to be successful.
He explains: “My career in interior design began by chance when I was offered freelance work by local company Lills of Louth after the business owners saw my amateur efforts at my home. So as a self-taught designer I take seriously the need of work experience opportunities for students.
“The essence of my advice to these bright and positive young people is that they strive to develop versatility, for the profession offers diverse opportunities. I demonstrate this with an overview of the infinite range of projects it is my privilege to fulfil, from restaurants to retirement homes, boardrooms to boutique hotels, swimming pools to shoe shops, church vestments to night clubs, power stations to my mainstay, private homes.
“Students with me and my long-term colleagues here are introduced to an overview of our modus operandi, the factors involved in space planning, the choice of furniture, fixtures and fittings, surface finishes, textures and textiles.
“They undertake hands-on practice in the make up of soft furnishings and gain comprehensive insights into the consequences of decisions and choices made.
“A highlight of the training is often the Nottingham University interior architecture faculty degree show where we see direct evidence of how innovative thinking is encouraged, developed and revealed in the inspiring presentations of the graduates.”
LOUTH LIVESTOCK MARKET
Following the ‘significant boost’ that HRH The Prince of Wales gave to the rural community when he visited Louth Livestock Market in mid-March, work continues to explore the wider future use of the venue.
Owner East Lindsey District Council (ELDC) has formally decided to preserve the site and last summer the authority agreed an extension (until 31st March 2018) to a notice to quit served on Louth Market Auctioneers.
Now, in order to protect their legal position as tenants, a formal application for a new lease was filed at Court on 29th March. This will allow constructive discussions to continue with ELDC and planners about future potential uses of the site.
This move also means that the tenants have time to come up with a detailed business plan for the authority, aimed at creating its long-term viability.
Louth Market Auctioneers’ spokesman Simon Williams, of Masons Surveyors, said: “We continue to investigate possible additional non-agriculture uses and endeavour to agree commercial terms for a new long lease.”
Last November, the auctioneers held a community meeting, encouraging people to come up with new and innovative ideas for the use of the market site and/or on more days of the week. More meetings are scheduled.
The auctioneers have instigated talks with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP), which is able to provide expertise and assistance. They are also meeting with and seeking advice from Martin Collison, who is employed by the GLLEP and can help with constructing a viable business plan.
The Council has appointed Adrian Jones Associates. The business designs livestock markets and has been asked to explore the potential reconfiguration of the Louth market.
“One option includes relocation of the sheep pens, partly at least inside. ELDC has also confirmed that it is moving forward with the necessary refurbishment work over the coming weeks and months. This includes re-roofing the main market building,” said Mr Williams.
“Louth Market Auctioneers are delighted that we have more time to thoroughly investigate all the opportunities that the market site offers, now the council has signalled it is prepared to allow a greater and wider use of the site, other than on market days.
“We remain fully committed to operating the market and to ensuring a sustainable future for the facility, by having the right terms with ELDC and making maximum use of the site for a range of alternative uses that will assist in making the market financially viable in the long term.
“We are pleased to report that weekly markets will continue each and every week. Now that the uncertainty over our future is slowly fading, this is good news for everyone.”
Mr Williams is keen to hear from anyone who has ideas for the wider use of the market venue in the future. He can be contacted on 01507 350505.
THATCHED INN IDEAL FOR ALL VISITORS
The Kings Head Inn, Theddlethorpe with its chocolate box thatched roof and charming interior, dates from the 16th century and offers plenty of old world charm.
Owners Jackie and Dave Hutton serve a wide choice of scrumptious food and wine to their many customers and more recently have started to offer quirky accommodation in their beautiful home.
The inn is set in rural surroundings, within a beautiful three quarters of an acre garden, complete with hammock. There is a leisurely two-and-a-half mile walk through fields to get to the unspoilt beach and nature reserve in Theddlethorpe which makes a very relaxing outing, especially with canine friends. The bustle and attractions of Mablethorpe are a ten-minute drive away.
Their accommodation offers an ideal meeting place for family reunions, or a secluded get away for romantics. The inn and the area is a great place for dog walking or even winter weekend seal spotting. All of the accommodation at the Kings Head Inn is dog friendly and guests enjoy the informal, welcoming hospitality given to every customer. Within the grounds there is an eight berth caravan tucked away in the garden, an open plan apartment and a romantic double room with a hot tub.
If you would like more information contact: Kings Head Inn, Mill Road, Theddlethorpe LN12 1PB
Tel: 01507 339798, www.kingsheadinn.com
A BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM DESIGNED FOR YOU
Your dream bathroom can be hard to bring to reality without the help of a talented designer. This is where Simon Tisseman, owner and head designer of Louth based Lavish Bathrooms Ltd can bring his flair, skill and product knowledge to your project.
Their beautiful showroom on Cannon Street, has an abundance of inspiring displays; from slipper baths to designer bathroom storage and full shower enclosures.
Simon explained: “We make sure customers do not feel under pressure in any way. We make them comfortable in our Design Snug with a cup of coffee, ensuring a relaxed atmosphere to discuss their lifestyle, tastes and budget. Our design service is free of charge, using the latest software to create a life-like drawing of the finished project. Alternatively we are happy to visit clients in their home.”
Once the design is approved, Lavish Bathrooms will project manage the complete installation. Working with carefully chosen local tradesmen – home improvements have never been easier.
The showroom has an extra dimension of interest, with walls used as gallery space for works by local artists, gifts from Holly’s House in Waltham, Neal’s Yard Organic Remedies and local artisan Pin Gin.
Clients purchasing a complete bathroom receive a hamper of local products for use in their new dream bathroom.
Lavish Bathrooms is located on Cannon Street, Louth. Opening hours are Mon-Sat 9.30am to 4.30pm, contact them on 01507 201161 or visit www.lavishbathrooms.co.uk.