Much-loved Bishop’s Waltham tea room closes

A much-loved Bishop’s Waltham tea room and wine merchants has closed down.

The Anvil and Just In Case wine merchants on Symes Corner closed their doors for the final time last week.

Announcing the closure, they said: “It is with great regret to announce the sad closing of the Anvil Coffee Shop and Just in Case wine Merchants forthwith.

“Fred is retiring in his 80th year and would like to thank all his loyal customers and friends for their support over the many years of trading.

“Fred thanks all his amazing staff for their hard work and loyalty over the years and wishes them all the best with heartfelt thanks.”

The Anvil’s building looks like it’s been part of Bishop’s Waltham life for centuries but it was only built less than thirty years ago when owner Fred Woodfine constructed it from scratch.

Fred acquired the plot from two brothers and named the area “Symes Corner” after them. Restoration took two to three years and was completed in 1997. A residential building that originally stood on the site had been pulled down like many others to widen the road from the car park to be built during the expansion of Bishop’s Waltham in the 1960s and 70s. Many of the materials used to build The Anvil were salvaged from local historical remains.

Local people have been paying tribute to the cafe and its owners and staff. “Such sad news, but I hope you have a happy retirement, Fred,” said Alison Wiles. “Andy and I have so many happy memories of sitting in the courtyard in the sun, wonderful coffee, cheesy hammy eggy, your amazing pies, and of course browsing the wine collection, not to mention the shooting port. Thank you to you and your wonderful team.”

Sally Elderton said: “So sad to see this…Fred is legendary & has been a part of BW for so many years. I worked for him 30 years ago at the original premises of Just in Case & again briefly at the Anvils Cafe. Happy memories but enjoy your well earned retirement Fred.”

Jerry Draper said: “Always enjoyed the Bishop’s Waltham Wellbeing Walking Group after walk social get together and Christmas dinners. Our walking dogs enjoyed the treats. Fred really cheered us up with his songs and humour. Wishing Fred and his family/crew all the best and happiness for the future.”

Photo: The Anvil