On Saturday, Belper saw the Grade II listed Orangery building reopen, having been transformed by owners Lisa and Cameron Cook into Belper’s own Book Cafe.
With no known rivalry for the site, they didn’t have to fight for it. This is possibly because the former owners, McDonalds, had stripped everything out of the building, including electrical wiring and even the fire alarm.
Lisa and Cameron, who met whilst working for a book company, gradually moved into the cafe trade as the cafe element of their various book and gift shops grew. They have stayed within Derby since moving there from York, and this is their first venture outside the city limits.
We went to preview the Belper Book Cafe on Friday, but unfortunately last minute problems with electrics and equipment had their team working hard on preparing later than planned. All the problems were resolved by the weekend, and they had a good opening day.
The construction barriers, which were still around the cafe, limiting access from two directions, should be coming down this week.
Lisa told us that they wanted to do “something a bit different”, and the spacious nature of the Book Cafe is certainly very different for Belper, offering the possibility of private conversations and larger groups upstairs.
There aren’t currently very many books while the owners try to find space to fit more in. What books there are are upstairs by cosy reading chairs.
Lisa and Cameron fell in love with Belper before deciding to create the new cafe, frequently stopping here on days out. Lisa told us, “We love Belper, we love that it is full of independents. I’d love to move here.”
The Belper Book Cafe will be available for private hire and they are keen to get involved with local events and groups, once they have settled in. They have already made contact with Pride in Belper, and Love Belper.