A joint enterprise between Manx National Heritage and Isle of Man based Costa Franchisee ‘Fancy a Coffee Limited’ has enabled the renovation of the former Social Security Office building overlooking Castletown Harbour. The building has been developed into a new Costa outlet for the town, and opened on Friday 21st October.
The Manx Museum and National Trust have invested in the building using its charitable funds in order to secure the future of the two hundred year old heritage property which has previously served as soldiers’ married quarters, a military library, a customs office, a police store and latterly as the town’s social security office. The acquisition will also ensure the protection of the view from Castle Rushen whilst bringing the vacant property back into sustainable use.
Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage commented:
“Re-using an historic building in this way is a good example of partnership. We have worked closely with the Fancy a Coffee team and local firm of architects Horncastle Thomas to create a sympathetic but innovative development which is in keeping with this amazing location and provide much needed facilities for our visitors. I am grateful to our main contractor JCK for their work which proved to be technically challenging because of the proximity of the site to the harbour and historic ground conditions.”
“Castletown is a great destination and we welcome tens of thousands of people to MNH sites there. This heritage-led regeneration builds on the existing strengths of the town and makes it more sustainable for the future. We are grateful for financial support from the Government’s Town and Village Regeneration Fund and from Castletown Commissioners – which has helped the Trustees create a new landscaped open space outside the building. We look forward to attracting both visitors and local people to enjoy their heritage.”
Castle Rushen is one of the most important buildings on the Island and has been at the centre of most of its important historical episodes. Built by a Norse King, it was ransacked by Robert the Bruce in 1313, handed over to the English in the Civil War, used as the island’s prison and is now one of the best loved heritage attractions on the Isle of Man.
Built by the English military authorities after the Act of Revestment at a time when Castletown was the seat of government and a growing harbour, the Castlegate building sits on an earlier Civil War gun emplacement and dominates the view of the Castle and the harbour.
Rory Dorling, Fancy A Coffee Limited Operations Director commented:
“The Costa team in the UK are really excited about the launch of Costa in Castletown, which is one of the most prestigious and scenic locations that the brand will operate from. We hope the Costa in Castletown will act as a community hub for residents of the town in a similar way that we have seen our sites in Ramsey do. We’re pleased to have created seven new jobs and continue to contribute to the Manx farming and agriculture industry by proudly using Manx milk and cream.”
Image caption: Edmund Southworth Director of Manx National Heritage (right) and Rory Dorling of Fancy a Coffee Limited Operations Director (left) pictured at the Castletown’s new Costa outlet opposite Castle Rushen.