One of Huddersfield’s longest established cafes is closing for good on Saturday after serving cuppas for almost 80 years.
Staff at the Motorman’s Cafe on Manchester Road at Marsden will shut the doors for the final time at 1pm on Saturday, July 1.
Owners Jean and Pete Hall are selling up and retiring.
Although the sale has yet to be formalised, it is believed the new owner will use the building as a family home and office.
The building, which includes three-bedrooms, cafe seating for 50 and around one acre of land, had been on the market for £300,000.
Jean, who has worked at the cafe since 1964 and is now 68, said she was looking forward to retirement as running a cafe had been very hard work.
She has enjoyed being her own boss and meeting lots of different customers over the decades – including The Animals singer Eric Burdon, comedian and actress Hylda Baker, and the now-disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile.
Jean said: “Hylda Baker was so tiny her legs didn’t touch the floor when she was sitting on a stool. The singer from The Animals had lots of make-up on.”
Jean said the cafe’s fortunes changed overnight with the opening of the M62 in 1970 which meant drivers no longer had to use the A62 Manchester Road which the Motorman’s Cafe has been beside since 1939.
“When the M62 opened everyone went that way (over the Pennines),” she said.
“Our road was deserted; it was like a ghost town overnight. It went from being one of the busiest roads in Britain to being one of the quietest. Nobody came in (the cafe) and all the other cafes shut.”
Despite the lack of customers, the Motorman Cafe managed to survive.
“I think we struggled for quite a long time. It picked up a bit in the 1980s.”
Custom was given a boost as cycling rose in popularity.
One such cycling group, known as the Autumn Tints Cycling Comrades, based in Halifax, were regulars at the cafe.
Jean said: “They used to appear on a Wednesday, a group of about 30 of them. They were older, retired people.”
She thanked customers and staff she has known over the decades, among them Bev Holroyd, who has worked at the cafe for 22 years. She also thanked Margaret Martin and daughter Michelle Wasp who worked at the cafe during the 1980s.
“It has been nice working with such lovely people,” she said.
Estate agent William had advertised the building as a cafe with accommodation and with a turnover of around £64,000 per annum with a 54% profit margin.
The estate agent said the property enjoys “stunning views”.