South Norfolk Corn Exchange reopens in vintage style

Glen philpott and David Charles have refurbished the corn exchange at Harleston turning into tea roo

Glen philpott and David Charles have refurbished the corn exchange at Harleston turning into tea rooms and an antique centre - Credit: Sonya Duncan- Archant

It has been an eight year wait, but a south Norfolk town centre corn exchange opened again at the weekend to bring a touch of vintage style.

The 19th century grade II listed Harleston Corn Exchange reopened on Saturday as an antique centre with vintage tea rooms and a museum following an extensive refurbishment costing more than £60,000 by David Charles and his partner Glen Philpott.

The pair, who own Loddon Mill Vintage Tea Rooms, have created a street scene called Arbella Road where entrepreneurs specialising in the worlds of vintage, antiques, collectables and crafts can rent a shop unit along with floor and cabinet space. There is also a 1940s-style tea room and water fountain.

The sounds of 78s and 45s gramophone records can also be heard by visitors to the Victorian building to provide an authentic vintage feel.

Mr Charles said: 'What we wanted to create was a really nice shopping experience where people could come in and do a bit of shopping and just really enjoy the experience in an old building.'

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He added his partner and himself had experience of running vintage buildings and this motivated them to take on the Corn Exchange.

'The Corn Exchange has been a number of things in the past, but it is a really nice, big vintage building in the centre of Harleston and that is why it was such a shame it had been closed.'

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The imposing Corn Exchange has served the public in many guises, including a venue for second world war dances, regimental balls, a magistrates' court, and shopping arcade.

The building closed its doors in August 2005 after failing to make profit as the Xchange, featuring restaurant, wine bar, function hall, art gallery, crafts and antiques shops and delicatessen.

Mr Charles said: 'We opened yesterday and it has been extremely good. We have had lots of people coming in.'

To express an interest in renting space call Mr Charles or Mr Philpott 01508 528085.

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