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The Unicorn Coffee House, Pilton, opened in 1887


The Unicorn Coffee House on Pilton Street opened in 1887 in what is now Pilton Church Hall. The event was reported in the North Devon Journal of 3rd November.
Colonel and Mrs. Hibbert of Broadgate funded the extensive alteration and restoration of the ancient premises – it was once a Tudor merchant’s house - with the intention of opening a temperance house and reading room for the benefit of the working classes of the locality.
The archive document is a copy of the North Devon Journal report with the addition of a picture from the top of Pilton Street taken a few years later around 1900. The Unicorn was in the building behind the handcart on the left. When opened in 1887, the Unicorn’s timetable was to open at 5.30am, serve breakfasts, lunches, dinners and teas and close at 11.00pm. Needless to say, alcohol was not served. Intriguingly, it is reported as having three large bedrooms but their location is unclear.
Unfortunately, within 18 months it had closed. It was followed by the establishment of a parish laundry and was then sold to the church authorities in 1905. The skittle alley at the rear was demolished and replaced the large hall we have today which opened in 1906.
You can read more about its history if you follow this link.

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