The small diner by the side of the A1 at Spital is signposted as a service station, although it is much smaller and limited in scope (for better or worse) than other services on the road.
Catering: Flo's Cafe
HGV parking is available for £15. All parking spaces appear to be for customers only.
Trivia and Design
As for many years this site has only consisted of a single diner, it is usually known by the name of the café. There is one reference to Spital service station, which is the name we use.
There is a single sign for the service area, positioned by the Highways Agency on the main A1. The sign advertises free toilets and a restaurant, with a third symbol covered up. It's not clear if the owners want free toilets to be advertised, or why the sign does not meet traffic sign regulations, or why a facility with no fuel is being advertised from the road at all. It is likely that the Highways Agency reluctantly agreed to put the sign up, and now everybody has forgotten that it's there.
The A1 here was a Roman Road, originally numbered A614.
The first map to show development here is dated 1948, showing two buildings, which appear to be the house and café building. They were positioned at the junction with Long Brecks Lane. The restaurant building is named Police House.
In 1961 the road was upgraded to dual carriageway, and renamed from Blyth Road to Spital Road (it later changed back). The junction with Long Brecks Lane was closed. The main building had an extension (which appears to be the long section at the back), and was now labelled "garage".
In around 1976 the main building was taken over by Little Chef, becoming their Blyth branch. At the time Little Chef was owned by Forte, and in 1987 their arch rivals Granada built a larger service station two miles to the north, also named Blyth.
In 1989 Forte tried to compete by building a Travelodge at the back of the site. They then registered an application to build a Happy Eater, which may have been for the other side of the road. By 1997 the site had been acquired by Granada, and with two Travelodges close by they chose to demolish this one. It was later used to store wrecked vehicles.
In 2002, Little Chef's owner wanted to close restaurants without a motel, including this branch. It was taken over by an independent diner, called Katie's Kitchen. This closed and became Joey's Truck Stop, then Frankie's Diner, which was boarded up in 2008. Then it became Hannah's Kitchen, then Flo's Cafe. At some point access through to Long Breck Lane became possible via the car park.
|Markham Moor (10 miles)||Services on the A1||Blyth (2 miles)|