ICONIC LITTLE CHEF!!
September 02, 2014 • Leave a Comment
How cool a Little Chef can you get?? This is one that it seems I was meant to find. After missing a turn off for an R.O.C post, I was flying along the A1 when I noticed this fantastic building on the left, it was blocked off from the carriageway and no way to stop so I thought that was that. Anyway, looking at the maps later on to see roughly where it was, it turned out to be right on the other side of the road from the Travelodge i'd booked for two nights time! On my return I found a way to it around the back of a huge roadhouse type pub that showed that this must have been quite a busy stopping place in times past, indeed enough to merit what I later found out to have been "Britain's only architecturally important Little Chef", according to The Guardian.
It was designed by the Modernist architect Hugo Segar "Sam" Scorer, and built in 1960-1, originally as a filling station(!), with the distinctive "hyper-parabaloid" (now that's a word to crowbar floorboards up with) roof on four concrete stanchions presumably covering the pumps. It cost £4500 in old money to build and survived as a petrol station until 1989, when it was converted to a Little Chef, which stayed open until summer 2012. In March 2012, while still open as a Chef, it was given Grade 2 listing, but only for the roof. They didn't seem to think much of the rest as the listing states "the canopy and four structural supports remain intact and uncompromised by the inserted building beneath...the restaurant building does not have special interest and is excluded from the listing".
The next morning I had breakfast at the new and 'rebranded' Little Chef across the road, which was very nice, but I couldn't help thinking what it would have been like to be in this great building. Then I carried on to that R.O.C post...
P.S Little Chef itself is now an endangered species- from a peak total of approx. 439 around the year 2000, there are now only 74 left open in the U.K.
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