New lease of life for ‘charming and historic’ town centre store
- Credit: Sarah Ravencroft
An empty, “charming and historic” building in the heart of a market town has been given a new lease of life.
The Co-Op travel agency has found a new home in the iconic former Morlings music store in New Market, Beccles.
The branch had been based inside the Beales department store until the company’s collapse and closure earlier this year, with the five members of staff retained.
Work on external signage and interior branding was carried out last month, with the store officially opening on November 2.
However, with the nationwide second lockdown coming into force on November 5, the store was forced to temporarily close after just three days.
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Branch manager Teresa Bailey-Green said: “We’re thrilled with our new premises in Beccles.
“It’s wonderful to be breathing life back into a charming, historic building that’s been sitting empty for some time.
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“We have been told that the building dates back to the early 1700s and was extended by owner Edward Blowers, a locksmith, in 1749 and inhabited by his son, a clockmaker also called Edward Blowers.
“The ornate balcony was added circa. 1900.
“We feel very privileged to be able to serve the community of Beccles from our new premises, with its rich heritage and prime position.”
The store, which housed Coral bookmakers for around a decade, was home to the Beccles branch of Morlings music for more than 80 years from 1926 until 2007.
The team, a number of who had been working at the Lowestoft branch following the closure of Beales, cover a wide variety of destinations and holiday types, and includes individual specialisms in Italy, Florida, the Greek islands, the Caribbean, Australia and cruises.
Natalie Turner, head of branches for Co-operative Travel, said: “Our colleagues are eager to be an active part of the high street and their communities once again, offering the wide range of travel experiences and brands that we sell, with holidays at home and abroad to suit every taste and budget.”
The brief opening of the branch had been timed to coincide with the launch of a national campaign ‘Holiday to Help Out’ from November 2-8 aimed at supporting the holiday industry which has been hampered by the pandemic.