Moot Hall reopens as new shopping village

MHDE-05-10-11 PIGEONHOLE OCT15 (2)'Pictured are Paul Bowditch and Dawn Willetts, who are opening up the Moot Hall, as a shopping venue on Saturday 8th October
MHDE-05-10-11 PIGEONHOLE OCT15 (2)'Pictured are Paul Bowditch and Dawn Willetts, who are opening up the Moot Hall, as a shopping venue on Saturday 8th October

THE Moot Hall in Daventry reopens on Saturday as a new shop selling handicrafts and unique items.

The Pigeon Hole is set to open in the landmark building which has stood empty for almost four years.

The shop has been set up by locals Paul Bowditch and Dawn Willetts. It provides a space for local artisan crafters and other small businesses to display and sell their stock.

The shop charges for the floor space, and takes a small commission on each sale with the rest of the money going to the trader.

Mr Bowditch said: “We’ve got 40 traders signed up for when we open.

“We originally planned to have 10 signed up for the first week and to grow it from there, but we’re almost full already!

“Every person who has come along to look around with a view to signing up has done so on the day.

“They all love the building, the environment we’ve created inside. Plus the location in the town and the fact there’s free parking very close by is a real draw.

“We’ve got stonemasons, jewellery makers, photographers and potters, antique furniture, vintage items, and pre-loved clothes.

“We’ve got traders from the villages around Daventry, but we’ve also got people coming here from Banbury, Rugby, Northampton, Milton Keynes, and even Wolverhampton.”

Most of the work transforming the listed Moot Hall into a retail space has largely been done by the owners and their friends.

The old cottages behind the hall will become tea rooms for the shop with indoor and outside seating.

Mr Bowditch said: “We’ve got a few I’s to dot and T’s to cross, but hopefully we’ll be open on Saturday.

“The tea rooms will be open, but I’m not sure we’ll be able to serve anything because the kitchen needs signing off by the district council.

“We’re not doing anything big for the first day, but we’ll probably do something once we’ve all settled in.”

In the past the Moot Hall has been the town’s council building, court house, jail and mayoral chambers.

More recently it housed the district’s museum and tourist information centre before both were closed and an Indian restaurant moved into the historic building.

The Pigeon Hole’s opening times will be Tuesday through to Saturday 10.30am to 5.30pm. Sunday 10.30am to 4.30pm. Closed on Mondays.