Hole in the Wall oatcake shop closes for last time
THEY queued in droves for a slice of history as the world's last traditional oatcake shop rolled down its shutters for the final time.
For residents living close to the famous Hole in the Wall in Hanley, the sight of a lengthy queue outside the popular little shop has become the norm.
All week, oatcake fans from across the region and the country flocked to the business ahead of its impending closure.
Yesterday saw an impromptu round of applause from customers stood outside on Waterloo Street, as owner Glenn Fowler and his team waved farewell.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Glenn, aged 60, of Leek Road in Abbey Hulton, who ran the business with wife Sue, said: "The whole week has been full of mixed emotions.
"One minute we could be laughing, then we'd be crying our eyes out.
"Yesterday was horrible, it was very distressing knowing it was our last day. I felt very sad but very angry knowing what has happened. I just feel numb."
Sue added: "We have sold 700 packets of a dozen oatcakes on the internet. It has been so busy. Over the years the customers have become friends and we have seen a lot grow from children to adults."
Oatcakes have been served from the front window of the 115-year-old end terrace in Waterloo Street since the 1920s.
But now it is set to be demolished as part of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's multi- million pound regeneration project to transform Hanley's City Waterside.
For more than four years campaigners, who launched a 5,000-signature petition, battled to save the building. But after failed negotiations with the council, Glenn decided to sell up.
Brenda Capewell, aged 59 of Eaton Park, who has worked at the shop for nine years, said: "The amount of customers who have come over weekend has been unbelievable. I'll miss working here. We're a family."
People from as far as London, Redditch and Kidderminster turned out to taste the local delicacy for the final time, with some queuing for more than two hours.
Seventy-year-old Freda Eaton of Tunstall queued for an hour and a half and said: "A building such as the Hole in the Wall should be preserved in some sort of museum."
Beryl White, aged 72 from Kidsgrove, added: "The closure will affect hundreds. Glenn has been forced out of his own business which he has kept going for more than 30 years. It's wrong."
Rob Franks, aged 28 of Meir Heath, who works at New Look's distribution centre in Newcastle, paid a final visit yesterday.
He said: "I've been coming here since I was about five and can't believe it's closing."
The final batch of oatcakes were loaded with cheese and handed out to a number of customers free of charge.
Husband and wife Mark Taylor and Laura Rodriguez, of Newcastle, shared one of the last oatcakes. Laura, aged 28, a teacher, said: "I feel we're losing part of our heritage."
Mark, aged 35, licensee of the Full Moon pub, added: "I've been coming here since 2006 and it's such a shame."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, city council cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Waterloo Street is part of a designated clearance area and we have a statutory responsibility to demolish the few remaining properties in that area.
"We will be working to make sure the property is safe and secure, ready for clearance in the coming months.
"Clearing the land makes it a much more attractive proposition for potential developers.
"In the summer we will be holding a development design competition for this and other cleared areas for developers to come up with proposals for how the area will be redeveloped."