Coffee has been known and popular in Europe since the 17th century and in the following century Staffordshire Pottery manufacturers were selling ware to supply the burgeoning market I both tea and coffee. From then both have retained their popularity. In the Victorian period the Temperance Movement in Leek were keen to promote non-alcoholic alternatives to beer.
There are now about a dozen cafes in Leek in the town centre. After last week that number was reduced by one as Coffee Clique in Getliffes Yard closed. I don’t suppose anyone has written an obituary for a café before but I mourn the passing of this establishment and the energy that Julie Lovatt put into the enterprise over its 5 years of existence. Julie is expecting a child in August,but in truth the business has been experiencing difficulties as a consequence of the continuing recession last Friday it bowed to the inevitable. It is a great pity. I have worked closely with Julie and her staff. Julie particularly bought energy and ideas to a town that desperately require them. She encouraged the café as a place for local artists to show their work. Local writers used the café. It was the first Internet café in town and she worked well with others to utilise the potential of café and the Yard.. These last months have been very hard for her but throughout this period she has great fortitude and unvarying consideration. She has always been cheerful and considerate. I wished the same creativity and energy that she displayed could have been shown by the District Council. She, like other local businesses in the town, only saw the merciless side of the Council in pursuit of Council Tax arrears using bailiffs at the earliest opportunity. The seeming indifference of the Council to local traders has been documented elsewhere.
I hope she does comes back to run another café. I suggested the name Jabobytes for this future Internet café venture. The name not only having historical resonances but also serving as a base for the thinkers and doers of the town.