A CAFE destroyed by the Storm Desmond floodwaters has re-opened its doors after undergoing a total refurbishment.

The water in what was once known as the Coffee House at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal was a metre deep when the floods hit in December 2015.

After months of using a temporary building and temporary toilets, the cafe has been rebranded as The Bakestone and is now open for business.


James Dean, general manager of the Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum, explained that everything was 'brand new'.

"The water was probably about a metre deep," he said. "And that obviously was covering quite a lot of the equipment.

"All of the cafe materials had to be thrown away so, literally, everything is brand new."

The cafe name has been inspired by the bakestone, that was once a staple in all Lakeland farm kitchens and used to make oatcakes. An example of this can be seen in the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry.

English Lakes Tea and Coffee will be providing the hot beverages and an expanded menu filled with stews, soups, scones, sharing plates and salads is on offer.

There are also innovative plans in place to tailor the seasonal menu, designed by Lakeland Arts catering manager Mark Crowe, to fit in with the exhibitions at Abbot Hall.

"The idea is the menu we're going to serve here is going to be reflective of the exhibitions," Mr Dean said. "And so it will change regularly when the exhibitions change. So for the upcoming '60s theme we'll be looking at doing '60s inspired food."

The space itself is brighter and less 'cramped' than it was before the floods and the walls have been decorated with line drawings inspired by artworks from the art gallery collection.

"The whole orientation of the cafe has been changed to improve access for disabled visitors but also to allow more seating to give a nicer open kind of feel to the place," Mr Dean said.

Two new members of staff have been taken on and Mr Dean said that all of the team is really enjoying having a permanent facility to work in.

"We made the best of the temporary cafe," he said. "It was quite a temporary solution although it was here for a over a year. The staff are really liking having facilities to use."