Sleek new teahouse brings empty crematorium back into use

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A stylish new cafe and reception hall brings an empty old building back into service at Grimsby Crematorium.

Named Reflections, the tea room is located in the newly refurbished Crematorium Lodge.

Reflections provides refreshments and catering for funeral attendees and visitors to the cemetery and crematorium.

Upstairs is a function room available for hire for wakes, meetings and other gatherings.

The Bereavement Services team runs the new cafe and offers a 10% discount on the menu to key workers in the public sector.

The refurbishment was designed and managed by North East Lincolnshire Council’s regeneration services partner, EQUANS.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, environment and transport portfolio holder at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

“It’s fantastic to see Reflections welcome its first customers. It’s a wonderful new place and I’m grateful to the project team who did a wonderful job bringing an empty building back into use.

“Reflections is the latest part of an ongoing transformational project to improve our services for bereaved families and the wider community.

“Recent improvements include the launch of the Treasured Memories pet crematorium, the extension of the parking lot and the restoration of the chapel and cemetery gates.

“The next stage of the project is the restoration of Scartho Cemetery Lodge, which has stood empty for approximately 15 years.”

Reflections was officially opened by the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Cllr Stephen Beasant, on Monday August 1. It received its name following a public vote in 2020.

During the opening, Cllr Beasant said:

“The new cafe is located in one of the most beautiful environments you can find in the borough, it’s really charming.

“The team did a great job and I will definitely be back. Kudos to everyone involved.”

Reflections is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call 01472 324869 for reservations and enquiries.

Lodge of the crematorium

The existing Crematorium Lodge was built around 1954 at the same time as the Grimsby Crematorium. The building was originally used as a sentry box and accommodation for the gardener who took care of the landscaping of the crematorium. It later served as the office of a local mental health charity which eventually vacated the building in 2016. The building has stood empty ever since.

Project description

After a lengthy consultation and design process, EQUANS has worked with NELC Bereavement Services over the past year to renovate and expand the existing building to form the new tea rooms. The concept of teahouses evolved due to a lack of refreshment facilities in or near the crematorium or cemetery or any space for families or friends to gather after a service.

The project involved the construction of a large two-storey extension to the south elevation of the current pavilion building and a one-storey extension to the rear east elevation of the building. The existing building element has been reconfigured and renovated, including a new roof, doors and glazing.

The original building has been brought up to current building regulations, meaning it is better insulated and more economical to operate. The original building now houses toilets on both floors as well as a small office on the first floor. A lifting platform allows easy access to the first floor for people in wheelchairs or with reduced mobility and a new staircase surrounds the lift to the first floor.

Extension

The large two-story extension contains a ground floor service and dining room that can accommodate up to 40 people. A glazed wall and doors open onto a garden terrace which can be used for al fresco dining in the summer. The first floor of the two-story extension offers a large multifunctional space that can be used for wakes, social events, meetings and as a training center.

It seats approximately 40 people depending on configuration and has views of the new gardens, adjacent housing estates on one side and the crematorium building and gardens on the other side. This space will also be available to rent for community functions, classes and meetings. The rear extension, on one level, houses the new commercial kitchen and the technical room.

Gardens and planting

The main entrance to the building is now on the north elevation allowing visitors to enter the building directly from the car park. The gardens on this side of the building have been newly planted to provide a welcoming approach with two mature trees framing the pathway.

The new extension is substantially screened by the existing hedges, so it is architecturally respectful of the ongoing services in the crematorium building. The surrounding gardens have been globally landscaped to create a green, desirable and peaceful environment for all users.

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