THE charity behind The Folly Museum in Settle says it is delighted after its popular coffee house was shortlisted in the 'Oscars of the museum world'.

The Folly Coffee House is one of just five cafes - including The Weston at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Flotsam and Jetsam at Dulwich Picture Gallery - to make it onto the list of 'museum cafe of the year' in the Museum and Heritage Awards, the winners of which will be named in May at a ceremony in London.

One of the largest employers in Settle, a team of 12 catering staff run the Folly Coffee House. It opened in 2017 and is now a very popular part of the Museum of North Craven Life, run by the North Craven Building Preservation Trust.

Coffee House manager, Victoria Murray, originally a museum volunteer, has seen the cafe grow in popularity following the Covid-19 pandemic. “The team have all worked so hard and it’s brilliant to have that recognised. We really hope we win, of course, but it’s a real honour just to be shortlisted," she said.

Food has played a large part in the history of the Grade one listed townhouse. In the 1690s, its kitchen was fitted out with high quality cookware and featured a high-tech clockwork jack to turn a roasting spit in front of the fire. The holes where the spit was fitted to the stone can still be seen in the cafe. A bread oven was inserted into a former staircase, and in the middle 1800s, a widow ran a bakery from the building, selling traditional havercakes.

With the coming of the railways, in 1895 The Folly became “Taylor’s Refreshment Rooms”, which offered “tea, coffee and refreshments supplied at short notice and on reasonable terms”, and in 1904, the Hearsum family opened a fish and chip bar and ran a potato wholesale business from the building. The Folly garden team regularly find pieces of pottery marmalade jars in the garden which date to this period.

Visitors to The Folly have risen from 3,500 in 2017 to 35,000 in 2022. All profits from the coffee house go towards the care and upkeep of The Folly itself.

The winners of Museum Café of the Year will be announced at an awards ceremony at the prestigious 8 Northumberland Avenue, London on May 10. Other awards include 'team of the year' and 'permanent exhibition of the year'