Chocolate Fayre Expansion Latest

As many of you know, we are in the middle of a substantial project to complete a considerable renovation to the former Wilson’s shop next door to us at 8 Horsemarket in Barnard Castle. The aim is to expand into this, adding to our existing shop space, while also bringing back indoor seating – something we had originally put in prior to Covid, but then never replaced after the various lockdowns and restrictions were lifted. This will also add a third area to the Secret Garden behind Chocolate Fayre to enjoy while the weather is behaving itself.

We knew that we had a building that was in dire need of some serious TLC, however this project has been even more involved than we thought!

Due to the many, many, MANY repairs, additions and adaptations over the centuries, the entire building has had to be stripped out, leaving just the outside walls and roof, and one single internal wall.

Every wall has been taken right back to stone, repaired, repointed and given a new lease of life.

Every floor and ceiling joist replaced (Victorian timber doesn’t pass modern load testing, apparently!). And various walls reconfigured. This boarded up h

We’ve gone from scenes of utter destruction, with the front half of the building was being help up with 26 props at one stage!

But slowly the pieces have come together to allow this old building to feel strong and complete again, like with this new roof truss, hand built on site.

Some very interesting discoveries have been made along the way, like this Victorian range, hidden behind a wall until it was exposed by our team during the ripping out phase of the project. However you’ll be delighted to hear that this was not ripped out, and will instead be a central feature in the seating area to the rear of the building. Originally forged by Henry Down of Newgate, Barnard Castle, this has such wonderful local heritage that it would be criminal not to keep it as a feature.

Other surprise discoveries were not so welcome, such as this wall, where light clearly shone through where you’d expect mortar to be, sticking the stones together!! Anyway, like several other parts, that was carefully removed and rebuilt!

After much muck, mess, muscle ache and many, many hours of graft, the spaces in the building began to look more like rooms!

And new stairs, as the original versions were absolutely not up to current building regulations in pretty much any way whatsoever!

Upstairs, the store rooms began to take shape.

All of the windows had to be replaced, as only 2 of the original building windows were actually weather proof!

The framing began to have its plasterboard surrounds, creating real room spaces, before the first electrical and plumbing work were fitted.

We’re still a fair way off finishing, but the building is really taking shape, and the team have worked extremely hard, sometimes in very mucky, cold, wet and muddy conditions, and still keep coming back!

Once we have a firm opening date, we will, of course announce it on here and via our social channels. Until then, look out for more updates soon!