Stoke & Staffordshire

Hanley's Hole In The Wall oatcake shop to close

Glenn Fowler and co.
Image caption Glenn, Sue and son Robert Fowler have run the shop since 1982

The only oatcake shop in Stoke-on-Trent where customers queue at the window of a house is to close.

The owner of Hanley's Hole In The Wall, Glenn Fowler, has run the shop for nearly 30 years and said the decision to shut was unavoidable.

He said: "I can't start to tell you how emotional it is, I'm dreading it."

Over 5,000 people signed a petition to save the building in 2008 when it was threatened with demolition as part of regeneration in North Staffordshire.

The regeneration programmeRenew North Staffordshirebegan in 2004 with the aim of investing £2.3bn over 15 years to help the housing market in the area.

Mr Fowler has sold the building, which the shop has occupied for more than 100 years, to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

'Very emotional'

He said the alternative options to move were too expensive for him and his wife Sue.

"It all comes down to money and at the end of the day the money wouldn't be there - we would have had to get a mortgage," he said.

"I don't think there was any way out of it."

Mr Fowler added: "I've spent half my life here so it's going to be emotional, we've made some good friends here and we shall miss them very dearly.

"I'm now hoping to get a part-time job to help bolster our income but we're at a complete loss and dreading the day we have to close.

The Fowler family has been producing oatcakes at The Hole In The Wall since 1982 and bake in what would have been the kitchen of the end of terrace house.

It used to be common for oatcakes to be sold from sash windows of homes to customers on the street.

In 2009, the Hairy Bikers visited Staffordshire while filming a television series.

At the time, one half of the bikers, Simon King, said: "We asked people to sum up Staffordshire in a plate of food, and they all said 'oatcake'!

"Then the second breath was, 'you've got to go to The Hole in The wall oatcake shop'."

The shop will close on Sunday, 25 March.

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