Egton’s old school gets new lease of life

Victorian pupils at Egton school in the 1890s
Victorian pupils at Egton school in the 1890s

GROSMONT School has been given a new lease of life – as a coffee shop.

After 150 years of educating children from the village and surrounding areas, the school closed in 1996, but this week it reopened its doors to the public.

Bill Sanderson and his wife Emily Thwaite, whose father comes from the Yorkshire Dales, started transforming Grosmont’s Victorian school in January, 2011.

Bill said: “Our aim was to return the place to its original shape and look, but with the added comfort and sustainability of modern technology.”

With architect Neil Duffield, from Whitby’s BHD Partnership, they chose Newton Builders, from Ruswarp, to make their vision a reality.

Now, more than a year later, an open-plan home and spacious coffee shop have been created.

The high ceilings have been restored, timber trusses revealed and stone arches cleaned.

Underfloor heating, powered by an air-source heat pump, has been installed by Cleaner Energy Solutions, a local renewable energy company.

The engineers also fitted photo-voltaic and solar thermal panels on the south-facing roof.

Combined with the insulation in the walls and ceilings, these mean the building is now environmentally friendly and efficient.

Last week, the Old School Coffee Shop was officially opened by children from Egton C of E Primary School, where children from Grosmont have been going since their school closed.

Emily, the Whitby Gazette’s What’s On reviewer, said: “We are keen to involve children here, because of the building’s history.

“We have a Victorian double school desk, with a teacher’s desk, where children can sit and imagine times past.

“There is also a rocking horse for young children, and plenty of space outside for playing.

“We’ll also be offering activities for children, periodically, from badge-making to quizzes.”