Brakes Catering Equipment has completed the refurbishment and installation of four retail catering venues at sites operated by Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust (SBT).
The projects at Shakespeare’s birthplace, Mary Arden’s Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Hall’s Croft — the home of Shakespeare’s daughter — were part of a major review of the catering facilities on offer to the public at those sites.
Brakes was commissioned by independent catering consultants Kendrick Hobbs, which specialises in arts heritage projects and was appointed to handle the project.
“I selected Brakes Catering Equipment to undertake these projects not just because the proposal they put forward came closest to what I envisaged when drawing up the specification, but because during the pitch process they made me feel that they were best equipped to do the job,” said company director Mark Hobbs.
Hobbs said that carrying out work on heritage sites threw up all sorts of challenges due to restrictions on changes being made to the properties.
“At Anne Hathaway’s Cottage we had to run in 60 metres of heavy duty electrical cable to serve the new garden cafe and at Hall’s Croft part of the ceiling had to be removed in the kitchen area but it had to be catalogued piece by piece as it was dismantled,” said Hobbs.
Brakes had just six weeks in which to complete the job, which involved installing kitchens, servery counters and beverage machines across the various sites. Combi ovens and dishwashers were also supplied as part of the project.
Hobbs said that working within the constraints of a listed building and across four different sites at the same time meant a degree of “cost engineering” was required in to ensure the project stayed within budget.
“In this respect BCE’s access to a number of diverse suppliers and a range of different types of equipment was invaluable as it meant we were able to keep control of costs without deviating from the overall specification too much,” he said. “For example we changed the model of dishwasher at one site and relocated an oven from one site to another. All in all this, along with some other clever ideas they came up with, saved us around £25,000.”