The Old Fire Engine House is a restaurant and art gallery situated just west of the cathedral in an attractive Georgian house with a large walled garden stocked with many old English fruit trees, herbs and flowers.
The Old Fire Engine House was built in the mid 18th Century on the site of a farmhouse which was in 1616 the home of Dean Tyndell's widow. Ely's horse-drawn fire engine was kept there at the turn of the century, which can now be seen in a photograph above the fire in the bar.
Ann Jarman set up the restaurant in 1968 with two friends and continues to run it now with her husband Michael. Their aim was to use local, seasonal ingredients and recipes; a concept which is commonplace now, but was relatively unusual forty years ago.
The restaurant has maintained the feeling of a family home rather than that of a commercial business which is reflected in its work ethos. Three generations of the Fyson family have worked there as cooks; Olive Fyson started with us in 1968 and worked in the kitchen for 30 years. Her daughters Terri, Christine and Jayne all still work with us as does her granddaughter Claire. Both the Jarman daughters have worked at the Old Fire Engine House with Lucy currently working as one of our main cooks as well as looking after the office and art gallery.