The Duke of Edinburgh formally opened the Cellarium café and terrace at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 17th October 2012 and was welcomed to the Abbey by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and members of Chapter.
His Royal Highness toured the new facility which embraces a café on the ground floor and a terrace restaurant with views of the Victoria Tower of the Palace of Westminster and the west towers of the Abbey. He met Abbey staff, together with donors, architects, archaeologists and representatives of the building contractors who had worked on the project, and also representatives of Benugo Ltd and their staff, the catering partners running the Cellarium.
The opening was also attended by the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Angela Harvey, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer CMG JP, and the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza CMG PC.
The Cellarium (the Latin word for a cellar) was first built in the 14th century as part of the domestic range for the Benedictine monks who formed the Abbey community from its inception in AD 960 until the dissolution of the monastery in the 16th century. There the Cellarer kept his stores of food and drink. In more recent years, the space was used for domestic purposes and latterly for offices and staff facilities.
The entrance to the Cellarium is from the passage connecting Dean’s Yard to the Great Cloister on the south side of the Abbey. The new café and terrace restaurant have been developed to offer a beautiful and historic place of rest and refreshment to the Abbey’s many visitors. The Cellarium, which opened informally in August, will also be of service to local residents and staff from the government and other offices around the Abbey. All are welcome. The licensed premises offer waiter service from Monday to Saturday between 9 and 5, serving breakfast, coffee, lunch and afternoon tea.