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Last of the Summer Wine cafe taken off Heritage at Risk list

From left: Bill Owen as Compo, Brian Wilde as Foggy and Peter Sallis as Clegg in Sid's cafe in Holmfirth
From left: Bill Owen as Compo, Brian Wilde as Foggy and Peter Sallis as Clegg in Sid's cafe in Holmfirth

The cafe which was the focal point for the main characters in the hit TV series Last of the Summer Wine is no longer “at risk” following local efforts to regenerate the  historic town that borders the Peak District.

Holmfirth, in West Yorkshire, was the primary location for the adventures of Norman, Foggy and Compo, but in reality the town suffered an economic slump and its historic buildings were deemed to be under threat.

The town centre, which contains Sid’s famous cafe, has now been saved following a lengthy effort to regenerate the setting of one of Britain’s best-loved comedies.

It means Holmfirth has now been removed from Historic England’s “Heritage at Risk Register”, which documents sites whose unique historical value could be lost.

Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England said: “Protecting our heritage is so important.

“It is truly inspirational to see communities coming together to help save historic buildings and places and find new uses for them.”

Last Of The Summer Wine became the world's longest-running sitcom, running from 1973 to 2010
Last Of The Summer Wine became the world's longest-running sitcom, running from 1973 to 2010 - Malcolm Howarth/Television Stills

Last of the Summer Wine became the world’s longest-running sitcom, broadcast from 1973 to 2010, and its location in the Yorkshire stone centre of Holmfirth made the town a popular tourist destination.

But the town centre was in the grip of an economic slump by 2009 and many local properties lay empty.

Historic England added the historic centre to its At Risk Register, but by 2015 locals had rallied to form the Holmfirth Conservation Group, and its advice to business owners, along with an economic upturn, has now officially secured the town’s built heritage.

Craig Broadwith, an Historic England’s adviser for Yorkshire, said the cafe still widely known as “Sid’s” is “absolutely rammed”.

He added: “It was a place that was looking a bit down on its uppers, but vacant premises have been filled, and businesses have moved in.

“The economy is faring much better and more people are returning. It’s a very popular place. The Summer Wine celebrity is still there, and there is a lot more the town has to offer.”

The locals helped save a number of buildings left in danger by an economic downturn
The locals helped save a number of buildings left in danger by an economic downturn - Alun Bull/The Historic England Archive

The Holmfirth Conservation Area is one of 203 sites which have been rescued from the risk of losing their unique heritage, including the Old Chapel used for worship by four of the six men who were to become trade union pioneers the Tolpuddle Martyrs, which had to be resorted with National Lottery funding.

Also saved in 2023 was Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire, one of the oldest windmills in England, whose timbers date to 1513, and a futuristic Victorian electricity substation in Wimbledon.

While hundreds of sites have been officially saved by conservation work, 159 sites were added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 2023, including a pub with links to Admiral Lord Nelson, and a church painted by John Constable.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, the arts and heritage minister, said: “For a quarter of a century, the Heritage at Risk Register has helped to focus efforts to preserve cherished sites across the country. It is heartening to see that so many sites have had their futures secured.

“I look forward to the new additions to the Register receiving similar care and attention so that future generations can continue to enjoy and learn from our rich heritage for years to come.”