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22 August 2016 | Restaurants

'Blow the Wind Southerly' is the call as Mrs Wilson's coffee house comes to market

A coffee house inspired by the life and work of contralto Kathleen Ferrier is seeking new owners after being put on the market with specialist business property adviser Christie & Co.

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Mrs Wilson’s Coffee House and Eaterie began life as the Criffel Hotel back in 1858 before being restored by the current owners, David and Carol.

Located in the Victorian seaside town of Silloth on Solway in Cumbria, Mrs Wilson’s is a unique licensed coffee house dedicated to Ms. Ferrier, who lived in the town during the 1930s and 40s after marrying the local Bank Manager, Albert Wilson. She became an active member of the local community, as well as becoming a star of the stage and broadcast on both sides of the Atlantic, often outselling stars such as Frank Sinatra and Vera Lynn.

Over sixty years after her death, Kathleen’s version of “Blow the Wind Southerly” is still chosen regularly by castaways on Radio4’s ‘Desert Island Discs”, with her rendition having been chosen by Ralph Fiennes and AA Gill in recent times. 

The coffee house offers a stylish and open plan area with 40 covers, a modern kitchen and a food preparation area to the ground floor. To the first floor there is a currently unused space but with which a small amount of decoration would produce a further 40 covers alongside an open plan bar and an additional large kitchen.

The top two floors of the four-storey property forms the owner’s accommodation which features three double bedrooms, one of which is en-suite, a kitchen, a living room and an additional bathroom. The kitchen, bathroom and en-suite facilities have recently been refurbished to an extremely high standard with fitted modern appliances throughout.

Tom Vjestica, Business Agent, who is handling the sale of the property from Christie & Co’s Manchester office believes, “This is an excellent opportunity for an incoming owner to develop the business and increase turnover.

“As Silloth was the catalyst for Kathleen Ferrier’s career, the current owners felt that restoring the property and designing a unique wall mural was a loving and fitting tribute to the late iconic singer and one which would keep her legend alive for many years to come.

“There is huge potential for the business to open all hours and operate in to the evenings. By fully utilising the space on the second floor, which only requires some slight decoration, the additional space could be fully utilised as a bar or as a restaurant. Everything necessary is already in place for the site to function as a busy restaurant and bar and the right owner could easily tap in to previously unexploited revenue streams.

“Unfortunately, the current owner is reluctantly selling the business due to ill health. The sale of the property offers not only a great chance for an owner to purchase a thriving business, but to also purchase a piece of history and legend that is Mrs Wilson.”

The freehold property, which offers picturesque views of Silloth Green and across the Solway Firth to Scotland, is being offered at an asking price of £379,999.