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Builders work their magic on Landmark Cafe


12/4/2023 10:30:28 AM


4 mins read

Expert restoration work will ensure that a much-photographed architectural gem in Lincoln’s High Street will continue to stand proud and welcome customers for many more years to come. 


The Gelder Group is delighted to announce the successful completion of a special project, which has transformed the exterior of the highly popular Stokes High Bridge Café building, which dates back to 1540 and holds pride of place on the 12th century bridge.


Gelder Group Chief Executive Officer Steve Gelder said: “We have given this distinctive property a comprehensive makeover. The work has included the installation of new rosemary tiles on the roof, giving the front and back façades a complete facelift, carrying out essential structural repairs and window enhancements.


The café sits in a strategic location within the bustling city centre and is flanked by an extensively used passage known as The Glory Hole. This factor posed several challenges during the planning of this project. 


“Ensuring the uninterrupted operation of the café and neighbouring businesses, whilst avoiding any disruptions to the six-week programme of work, were a priority. We are very pleased with the end result,” said Mr Gelder. 


Work to transform the historic building was considered essential and the City of Lincoln Council made a substantial investment to help fund the project. 


Stokes Tea & Coffee Managing Director Nick Peel said: “We are delighted that the roof has been repaired following years of leaks whenever it rained which has greatly impacted on trade and damaged the interiors. 


“The repainting of the façade was also desperately needed for this beautiful historic building which takes pride of place on Lincoln’s High Street. The exterior refurbishment coincides with a new efficient till system and revamp of the menu offering shoppers and tourists a gorgeous setting to enjoy breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. 

“Stokes has been in the High Bridge since 1937 and is extremely grateful to the City of Lincoln council and Gelder’s for carrying out this project. 


A City of Lincoln Council spokesperson said: “Gelder Group was appointed as main contractor to renew the rear (west facing) roof of 207 – 209 High St, Lincoln. This included external decorations to both front and rear elevations, as well as renewing pigeon control measures and external cleaning where necessary.


“This work did not come without its challenges, firstly as the building is Grade 1 Listed, and has a central location in the heart of Lincoln High St. The works attracted attention from businesses and the public, so care with every single aspect of planning and the works was paramount.” 

It was estimated the works would take six-to-eight weeks, which meant constant communication with the business in the building was necessary – both to keep them informed of work and enable them to continue operating with as little inconvenience as possible,” said the spokesperson. 

“To do this, site meetings were held on a few occasions prior to commencement, incorporating City Council staff and Stokes’ café management and employees. This was led by Gelder’s contract manager, Paul Staines, who managed all communication and meetings, plus follow up information distribution perfectly.

“Upon commencement of works and throughout, Paul maintained this communication and managed the site exceptionally well. Site managers were also on hand if needed, and kept all health and safety standards to the highest level. As the work progressed, regular meetings and calls took place to keep both the City Council and Stokes café informed.

“It is fair to say there were challenges throughout the project, but we are happy to say these were managed and dealt with in a timely and professional manner by Paul and his staff and contractors.

“Now that the works are finished, we are pleased to report that all were completed in good time, with minimal delays. The weather played its part, although again this was dealt with by Gelder’s professionally and with little to no negative impact. 

“The works have been completed to a high standard, to specification and the building is now watertight, with a fresh and clean finish and new bird-proofing. Overall, we are very happy with the works, the management of the project throughout and the finished product.”

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