Café at Abakhan

Mostyn, Flintshire

The project

A site of considerable local historic interest, Llanerch y Mor smelting works was founded in the 1750s, with the restored 1848 building now converted to a major retail outlet, head office and distribution centre for North Wales fabric retailer Abakhan Ltd.

Lawray worked closely with the company to restore the historic mill race (once reputed to house the world’s largest water wheel) and transform a disused and derelict warehouse into an award-winning visitor destination.

Repair, re-purpose and re-use

Already recognised by a `Prince of Wales Award’ for the sympathetic preservation and restoration of its old works buildings, the company was keen to do even more. As well as providing space to offer a vast range of fabrics, yarns, crafts, sewing accessories and haberdashery in its retail store, the project aimed to provide visitors with better facilities and encourage longer visits. Lawray’s approach of repair and re-use proved a complementary and appropriate analogy for Abakhan’s products.

Interiors and branding were carefully crafted to reflect the site’s industrial heritage, with the inclusion of interpretation boards, an important element in ensuring that shoppers and visitors from the adjacent Wales Coastal Path understand the historical significance of the site.

The result is a sustainable re-purposing of a redundant storage facility into an award-winning fully accessible café, gift shop and children’s play area that is already proving to be a huge success.