Southwold café finally gets electricity after 15 years

The Pit Stop Cafe, Southwold has now has electricity.Anne Clarke, Shelly Clarke and Hannah Clarke i

The Pit Stop Cafe, Southwold has now has electricity.Anne Clarke, Shelly Clarke and Hannah Clarke in the kitchen.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

In an era when businesses vie to be at the cutting edge of technology and when many cafés now offer wi-fi coverage as standard, the Pit Stop Café is, to say the least, something of an anachronism.

The Pit Stop Cafe, Southwold has now has electricity.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The Pit Stop Cafe, Southwold has now has electricity.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

After 15 years of soldiering on without a flicker of electricity, the business has finally been connected to the National Grid.

Ever since it opened, the café, in Southwold, has relied on a gas stove to heat its kettles, and freezer boxes and ice packs to keep the milk, and other items, cold.

With no lighting, its opening hours were strictly limited and it was forced to close throughout the winter.

But with the arrival of mains power, has come not only lights – and the prospect of longer opening hours in the autumn – but also a microwave, fridge, freezer and even a chip fryer.

As a result, its menu has been significantly expanded. Crucially, for a resort café, ice creams and chips are now available.

The cafe, on York Road, is a community venture, run on behalf of the Southwold Common Trust, and the electricity link-up followed a £17,000 fundraising campaign to cover the cost.

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Anne Clarke, the manager, said: 'We are still getting used to the electricity.

'Previously we only had two kettles and two hobs available for cooking so we had to work harder to manage, so simple things like putting the hoover on at the end of the day has been sheer luxury.'

The remote location of the Pit Stop Café meant that it was unable to get a connection to the National Grid without a long cable stretching over a golf course next door.

To raise funds, people were invited to sponsor £1 per inch of the electrical cable needed to connect the café to the main supply, at a transformer located approximately 220 metres away.

'Customers have donated £40 a day in our pound box and we have received anonymous cheques for up to £40,' Mrs Clarke said.

'The power also means we will be able to open earlier and later in the year. I am aiming to open on Boxing Day for people to come and enjoy the festive period for the first time at the Pit Stop.'

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Contact Simon Ward on 01502 525832 or email simon.ward@archant.co.uk

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