Landmark Hartside cafe sign goes under auction hammer

Date: Monday 13th January 2020

THE sign from a landmark Eden cafe has been sold at auction to raise money for charity.

With demolition work under way, the Hartside Top Cafe sign was auctioned online and sold for £380, but made an additional £165 in donations after mysteriously going missing briefly.

A total of £545 has been donated to the Great North Air Ambulance Service with the sign being handed over to the buyer from County Durham last week.

Site owner Dawn Dixon said: “We did the demolition over two weeks around Christmas and shipped 40,000 tonnes of rubble in clearing the site.

“We put the sign up for auction as I thought it would be nice to raise some money for charity but when it was sold it went missing on the 20th and created a bit of a storm online. Literally thousands of people commented and donated then two days later it just turned back up which is mad as its massive and you need at least two people and a big van to move it.”

The car park at the site was closed on 20th December as demolition work started.

The cafe, on the A686 near Alston, had cult status with bikers and cyclists as well as being popular with locals and tourists for decades. It was destroyed by a blaze in March, 2018.

After the fire, the sign could still be spotted among the cafe’s remains. Being situated at 1,903ft, close to Hartside summit, the cafe provided stunning views.

Property developer Mrs Dixon plans to redevelop the cafe site, knocking down what was left of the building and creating a new, environmentally-friendly steel and glass cafe to make it a popular destination again.

Mrs Dixon said she is reviewing plans with architects but has “fallen in love” with the site and has since purchased the neighbouring green area so it can be expanded, is setting up a memorial garden for the public and aims for work to be under way by May.

She said: “It is on one of the 10 best routes in the country so we feel it could be a jewel for the region with a cult feel, attracting locals and tourists for drinks, dining and overnight hospitality.”