Merrie England has been in Huddersfield for as long as I can remember. It has many common charactaristics, mock tudor beams, horse brasses, frothy milky coffee. For me Merrie England is as 'Huddersfield' as Castle Hill, Castlegate and Roy Castle. It is part of the DNA of the town and it would be a shame indeed if the latte army of the national coffee chains threatened the future of the Merrie England. Having said all that you can usually find me at 7.00am in Cafe Nero reading my papers (the Merrie doesn't open till 7.45a.m.) and having an 'Americano' with milk. As I'm a bit of an early riser I tend to favour mock italian over mock tudor. I like the comfy chairs and the classical music and the whole 10th cup 'free' thing. Cafe Nero have a formula which obviously travels well and they have over 400 shops across the UK. I'm sort of pleased in a way that the Merrie England franchise is limited to the 5 shops in Huddersfield and the one in Brighouse and the one in Halifax. It means it is definitely part of our identity and one which, either by lack of ambition of the company or attractiveness to other areas, has not managed to travel beyond our corner of West Yorkshire My personal support for the Merrie England is purchasing occassional bacon and tomato baps. Mmmm very tasty.
As yet Huddersfield does not have a Starbucks. This I regard as a good thing. We must have reached the coffee shop saturation point by now.