By Brian Stott
Alexander’s Restaurant has just opened in Skipton at 4-6 High Street after a £2.2million refurbishment.
But what has been here before this dramatic transformation of the premises?
Having lived in Skipton all of my life I don’t recall the front façade of the building having changed at all in the past 60 years and having spoken to people older than me neither do they.
When I was a young boy the premises were a shop that doubled up by selling china ware and good quality children’s clothing. The shop was known as Dinsdale’s and here’s a picture of it in probably the 1960’s
Next door which is now Hettie’s was The Castle Café. This building has hardly changed since then.
Here’s a photograph of Alexander’s part way through the work to convert to the new restaurant . The upper floors are being retained as they were.
Following Dinsdales a local man and current member of Skipton Rotary Club relocated his Children’s Clothes Shop from where Yorkshire Building Society is today on Keighley Road. I think this was in the early 1980’s.
Gradually Mr Goldie phased out the Children’s side of the business and rebranded his business as one which sold good quality country and walking clothing.
Here is his shop with him standing in front of it. No change from Dinsdale’s apart from the signage.
It stayed like this until about 2011 when David decided to retire. He was unable to obtain a buyer for the business so it was sadly closed.
The first new occupiers of the shop were The Russian Tea Room. They did very little to the interior of the premises and the exterior remained the same.
Sadly the owner who also had a similar place elsewhere in the county had ill health and despite having an extravagant opening with The Calendar Girls and Harry Gration reporting live for BBC Look North it only was open for a year. Poor trade was also said to be a factor and this may well have been down to council Planning Restrictions which restricted the restaurant area to the upper floor. The extensive ground floor was restricted to gift ware and tea/ coffee.
The next occupiers were also a restaurant called Forage. A bistro/tea room and deli. Again it seemed that the restaurant area was only upstairs. Again the shop front was still the same except for the signage.
Again the new owners were unable to keep the business going and it was closed. It was unoccupied for a good while before Alexander’s got it in late 2016 and started their big changes in the very early part of this year.
The property has always had a beautiful back garden overlooking Springs Canal and this has been transformed as part of the Alexander’s rebrand of the property.
Here is the start of the work in early February this year when a tree was felled. The iron railings in this photo have now been replaced by a glass wall.
We can’t yet see the new frontage onto High Street as the boarding is still up. The grand opening is this Friday.
Here is the new restaurant’s web site. Let’s wish them every success with their venture.