New centre will stay true to its historic town roots

Feature - Moot Hall, Daventry.''Pictured: Paul Bowditch at the site.
Feature - Moot Hall, Daventry.''Pictured: Paul Bowditch at the site.

A TRANSFORMATION is underway at Daventry’s historic Moot Hall.

Last week the Daventry Express revealed the building’s owners, Daventry District Council, was in discussions with an interested party.

Now we can officially announce the new tenant will be an arts, crafts and antiques centre called the Pigeon Hole.

Paul Dowditch and his partner Dawn Willetts are revamping the hall ahead of opening within the next few weeks.

The new centre is intended to be like a shopping village under one roof, with arts, handicrafts, antiques and other items on sale there from a range of suppliers and producers.

Mr Bowditch said: “We’re going to rent space out to artists, craftsmen and others for antiques, arts, and things like retro items and clothing, and also modern items that fit in with the scheme.

“It follows a concept that has worked in Northampton and Weedon.

“We’re trying to restore the cottages so they look like actual homes.

“The last cottage is going to be a traditional tea room, with teas, coffee and cakes, with space outside in the garden for people.”

The building has been the town’s hall, courthouse, council offices and prison.

Two of the cottages behind the main building will be restored and transformed into trading space, as will the old cells.

Mr Bowditch said: “The restaurant only used the first two floors of the main building.

“We’re going to be using the floor above that too, which includes the old mayor’s parlour.

“It just looks like a plain room now, but there’s still the old sign above the door which we’re going to be keeping.

“We’re also putting back in iron fireplaces, coving and other period items.

“I’ve always been interested in history, particularly Daventry’s past, and what could be more historic than the Moot Hall. I know it’s stood empty for a while, and every time I walked past I dreamed of the possibilities.”