Local Coffee Roasters Move Into Lancaster Castle

Renowned local coffee roasters and tea specialists Atkinsons have been chosen by the Duchy of Lancaster to open and run the new purpose-built visitor café at Lancaster Castle. The company is expected to open The Kitchen for the first time to the public at the beginning of November.

The facility includes a new bar area in the original prison kitchen building and a purpose-built dining room with bi-fold doors onto a new courtyard terrace under the Castle’s original curtain wall. The interior fit-out of The Kitchen has been completed by Maitland Steel and reflects the company’s well-established branding and contemporary design style. The menu will feature a range of specialist teas and coffees, artisan sandwiches, cakes and snacks.

Commenting on the new venue, Atkinsons ‘Keeper of the Flame’ Ian Steel said: “The opportunity to bring one of the city’s best-loved and home-grown brands to its most important and iconic building was just too good to miss. We are delighted to be part of this regeneration of forgotten parts of Lancaster Castle and look forward to welcoming visitors and long-standing customers to our new hub. We will continue to operate The Hall and The Music Room alongside The Kitchen, drawing on our experience to rotate the team as appropriate. We aim to make this the best speciality café in a major heritage attraction in the country so it’s an exciting time for Atkinsons, for the Castle and for Lancaster as a whole.”

The extensive conservation works undertaken at Lancaster Castle over the last 2 years have opened up the historic kitchen courtyard and access to the King’s Evidence and Male Felons Towers beyond. Part of the curtain wall has been lowered to restore the original sightlines to the Priory and a new covered cloister walk uncovered. A new teaching suite and gallery space have also been created together with a sweeping new piazza in the lower courtyard.

Commenting on the appointment of Atkinsons to run the new Visitor Café, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “We are always very keen to support local entrepreneurs and partner with the very best in class. Atkinsons is one of Lancaster’s many success stories and as a family-owned business their ethos and values are closely aligned to our own. We are delighted that they want to play their part in the regeneration of Lancashire’s most important heritage asset and look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

Atkinsons began in 1837 as J Atkinson & Co. Their Grasshopper Specialist Tea Warehouse was originally situated on Castle Hill for many years before moving to the current address on China Street. After nearly 170 years of trading, The Steel family took over the business in 2005 and since then have built up a thriving coffee quarter in Lancaster opening first The Music Room on Sun Square and then The Hall adjacent to the original retail outlet on China Street. In 2016 the family built a state-of-the-art eco-roastery between the orginal shop and The Hall where it expertly roasts a wide range of ethically sourced coffee beans.

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New Chaplain Installed At The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy

On Monday 30th September the newly appointed Chaplain of The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy was formally installed in the presence of the Dean and Sub-Dean of the Chapels Royal, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dame Sarah Mullally DBE and the Reverend Canon Paul Wright.

Canon Thomas Woodhouse has been appointed to the post of Chaplain by her Majesty The Queen in Right of Her Duchy of Lancaster. He takes up his new role following the retirement of the former Chaplain The Reverend Canon Professor Peter Galloway.

The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is the last surviving building of a hospital founded by Henry VII for the poor, needy and homeless. It has belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster as part of its historic Savoy Estate since it was built in 1512. In 2016, the Duchy of Lancaster agreed to the incorporation of the management of ecclesiastical matters at the Chapel into the Ecclesiastical Household. This arrangement mirrors the relationship between the Historic Royal Palaces and the Chapels at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, bringing all Her Majesty’s Chapels in London under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Dean.

Commenting on his installation, the new Chaplain said: “This service was an inspiring act of worship and an exciting start to my ministry. How we live out our faith in all aspects of our day to day lives is undoubtedly a challenge and one with which we all need a certain amount of help and support. Working with the excellent team here and my colleagues within the Duchy and Chapels Royal I am sure that we will be able to offer support, guidance, friendship and succour to everyone in the wider community as well as the local congregation.”

Thomas Woodhouse previously worked in the dioceses of Gloucester and Salisbury, most recently in Dorchester, the county town of Dorset. Between 2005 and 2014 he was Vicar of Royal Wootton Bassett, a period when repatriations put the town firmly in the spotlight. In his new role Thomas has pastoral responsibility for the congregation and all those who make the chapel their spiritual home.

“The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is also the spiritual home of the staff of the Duchy of Lancaster,” added Thomas, “and I look forward to working closely with them in the years ahead to support them in carrying out their duties and responsibilities in all aspects of their work.”

Chairman of the Duchy Council Sir Alan Reid GCVO gave a reading during the service which also celebrated the feast of St Michael and All Angels. Duchy Chief Executive Mr Nathan Thompson and Chief Finance Officer Mr Chris Adcock LVO were also in attendance and welcomed the new Chaplain into the wider Duchy family.

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Plastics Recycling Centre Opens In Lancashire

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability the Duchy of Lancaster is keen to discourage single-use plastics on its farms and to promote recycling wherever possible across its estates. Last year we carried out an audit of our farming tenants to see what measures they had introduced to reduce the use of plastics on site and to encourage their responsible disposal. Now one Duchy tenant is working towards opening a new collection centre for farm plastics in partnership with specialist farm waste collection service FarmXS Ltd.

All plastic types, from silage wrap through to polypropylene string and hard plastic containers, will be collected at the new centre based at Hallidays Farm on the Duchy’s Myerscough estate in Lancashire.  FarmXS Ltd will then collect the waste and arrange for it to be disposed of responsibly.

Tenant farmer Andy Walling believes that the convenience of a single collection point will help to encourage local farmers to recycle more waste products: “While most farmers are doing their best to minimise plastics on their farms there are some components which are impossible to replace without a suitable alternative. Members also receive appropriate Waste Transfer Notes to demonstrate their compliance with the current regulations and satisfy statutory agencies that they are acting responsibly.”

Following collection the various plastic waste streams are segregated and compacted into bales with material then sold on to re-processing companies for recycling.

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “Plastic waste disposal is a growing headache for those looking to dispose of waste plastics responsibly rather than sending it to landfill. We are very pleased to support Andy in this new initiative to provide a regional collection point for FarmXS Ltd, a private business which provides farmers with an ethical and sustainable recycling service for all types of farm plastic and cardboard.

“This is totally aligned to our own environmental sustainability programme and we would encourage tenants to use the centre and dispose of all plastic waste responsibly.”

Waste Management Regulations introduced in 2006 banned the burning or burying of farm waste and farm plastic. Farmers have a legal duty to send their plastic waste for recycling or to a registered landfill site authorised by the Environment Agency. The Duchy has been keen to support this and other environmental initiatives designed to protect the countryside and maintain a wide range of diverse habitats for the indigenous flora and fauna.

Anyone wishing to access this service should contact Andy Walling at Hallidays Farm, Myerscough on 07710 815332. For further information on FarmXS Ltd, please visit www.farmxs.com.

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Direct Drilling Key To Soil Health

Following extensive research into various methods of responsible soil management and crop cultivation the Duchy is encouraging tenants to consider direct drilling instead of traditional ploughing.

Direct drilling is a system of seed placement where soil is left undisturbed with crop residues on the surface from harvest until sowing. Seeds are delivered into a narrow slot created by discs, coulters or chisels. The benefits include improved soil structure and enhanced organic content, improved germination rates and increased numbers of invertebrates and earthworms within the soil.

A few of the Duchy’s tenant farmers have already invested in the technology required for direct drilling, believing it to be a more efficient and sustainable route to arable crop production.

Commenting on the findings, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “This is a direct result of the practical workshops we have been running for tenants to look at soil health and the impact of different cultivation methods on the land. We now have a much better understanding of the nature of the soils across our estates and the best ways to protect and improve their productivity. We hope that more of our tenant farmers will look at direct drilling and are exploring ways in which we might help them to introduce this and other farming methodologies which offer long-term environmental benefits as well as business efficiencies.”

The Duchy of Lancaster has been actively encouraging soil management for some time, first embarking on a data collection exercise to understand the different soils across the estates and then organising a series of practical workshops for tenants at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s model farm in Loddington. This programme of education, knowledge-sharing and practical experimentation will continue for the next couple of years with further workshops planned for 2020 and 2021.

Over 15 per cent of the Duchy’s total arable farmland is already using direct drilling and the target is to increase this to 75 per cent over the next three years.

“Direct drilling is not only environmentally beneficial and more sustainable, it also offers potential cost-savings over traditional plough-based systems,” added Christopher. “Once the initial investment has been made in the appropriate machinery, ongoing energy costs and the impact of soil damage, soil erosion, nitrogen leaching and agrochemical losses are much lower.”

Arable farmland accounts for 35 per cent of the Duchy’s rural estates in Cheshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire.

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