Ice cream kiosk opening should be a Good Friday

The former toilet block on Bankhill is being turned into an ice cream hut

The former toilet block on Bankhill is being turned into an ice cream hut

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It may not be in the same league as the iconic Paris structure but Berwick is about to get its own Louvre - or Loo-vre to be more precise.

That’s the name of the new ice cream kiosk which opens tomorrow (Good Friday) at the Victorian ladies toilet block on Bankhill.

It has been renovated by Berwick Preservation Trust and will hopefully encourage more visitors into that part of the town.

“We’re chuffed to bits with it,” project chairman Ian Douglas told Berwick Town Council’s annual meeting.

“It really was a mess and quite possibly would have fallen down if it had been left much longer.

“Since work began a lot of people have walked past the site and told us how wonderful they think the building is.”

Despite its condition, the original Minton floor tiles have been preserved in the refurbished building.

The trust was keen to ensure a sustainable use for the building and settled on the idea of selling ice creams, teas and coffees.

“It’s a single room so there were very few options but we felt we could do more with it than it being just a council store,” said Mr Douglas.

“We feel that the position it’s in, right next to the town walls, is excellent and there’s also nothing else like it in that area which means it should be ideal for getting the tourist trade who walk past and might fancy a cup of coffee or tea.”

He revealed that an interpretation board detailing the building’s history would be placed in an alcove.

“It’s a quirky old building dating from the late 1800’s,” said Mr Douglas. “It actually opened one year after the original men’s toilet in Berwick (now the Quayside Lookout at the end of the Old Bridge).

“It was 1p a visit when it opened and the records show they raised just over five shillings on their first day which means they must have had 60 visitors.”

The renovation work has been done by the Berwick firm of M T Richardson, which also refurbished the old men’s toilet for the trust in 1997-98.

It is the trust’s biggest project since the £5m renovation of the Dewar’s Lane Granary was completed in 2011.

Over the last couple of years it has focussed on smaller projects such as prepatory work for the restoration of the Union Chain Bridge, four small projects in Horncliffe and the restoration and repainting of 20 seats on the town walls.

Since it was formed in 1971 the trust has restored properties such as Quay Walls, the Lion House and Lowry shelter.

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