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Bideford restaurant goes back to roots in redesign

09:32 07 May 2014

John Emms, owner of The Mariners, with Lesley Dixon-Chatfield, in the newly designed restaurant.

John Emms, owner of The Mariners, with Lesley Dixon-Chatfield, in the newly designed restaurant.


Restaurateur hopes the new look featuring timeline of town’s history will attract visitors to explore the town.

The Mariners, formerly Lathwells, in Bideford.The Mariners, formerly Lathwells, in Bideford.

A WELL established Bideford restaurant has returned to its historical roots in a rebranding designed to keep visitors in the town.

John Emms, owner of The Mariners which was formerly Lathwells, has redesigned the restaurant with a timeline of Bideford’s history.

The historical facts displayed on the walls are linked by a rope, designed to reflect the maritime heritage of the building which was once a mariners’ house.

“We have so many foreign visitors every summer who stop in Bideford for the night as they work their way along the Tarka Trail,” said Mr Emms.

“They stop in the evening and have a meal but move on the next morning.

“I hope that by showing them how much history there is in Bideford, they may decide to stay a little longer and perhaps go for breakfast the next day and visit the shops.”

Mr Emms said he has been in discussions with the Businesses of Bideford (BoB) group to try and get other shops, restaurants and cafes to do the same.

He has owned the restaurant for nearly a decade and hopes the redesign will fit in with the night-time economy of Cooper Street as well as appeal to diners.

The facts in the timeline were put together by town councillor David Howell and his wife Louise, who are also involved in the Bideford 500 heritage club.

“It would be great if every building had something of the history in it, be it a photo on the wall or a bit of information for customers to read,” he added.

“We don’t want people to just stay the night and leave – we want them to stop and look around the town and see what Bideford has to offer.”

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