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Chat hatch goes global

PUBLISHED: 01:27 18 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

WOMEN could soon be catching up on gossip in conveniences the world over thanks to a novel invention pioneered at an Ipswich bar.

Ollie's Cocktail Café opened its doors in November and introduced the town's female drinkers to the Chat Hatch.

WOMEN could soon be catching up on gossip in conveniences the world over thanks to a novel invention pioneered at an Ipswich bar.

Ollie's Cocktail Café opened its doors in November and introduced the town's female drinkers to the Chat Hatch.

Positioned between two cubicles in the ladies' loos, a small hatch in the wall allows friendly women to continue their conversations while they relieve themselves.

Doors can be locked on each side, however, meaning that discretion is still available for those wishing to spend a penny in complete privacy.

The chat hatch was the idea of Georgina Hale, the wife of Martin Hale, one of the directors of Hollywood Leisure, and since The Evening Star reported on the unique addition to the Tacket Street Bar the creation has gone global.

The story was picked up by the national press and co-director of the Ipswich-based company, Trevor Hollinsworth, has been interviewed by radio stations from as far afield as Japan, America and Australia.

Bar owners in the States and Down Under are also now hoping to introduce the invention into their own businesses.

"The telephone just kept ringing after the story appeared in The Star," said Mr Hollinsworth.

"They were enthralled by the idea of a Chat Hatch – especially the Japanese, who seem to enjoy their toilet humour – and were keen to know what our customers thought.

"Since then we have been contacted by bar owners in the US and Australia who are looking to introduce the hatch for their own establishments and wanted to know the best way to go about it.

"It's amazing how something so simple could have captured the public's imagination," he added.

While Ollie's continues to establish itself in Ipswich and Chat Hatches pop up in womens' toilets across the globe, Mr Hollinsworth and Mr Hale are turning their attention to their next project.

For work has begun on transforming the former home of Café Rouge on Major's Corner into The Stage Café.

It is due to be opened by Hollywood Leisure at the end of February and will offer live music and comedy to give people something a bit different when they head in to town for a drink or meal.

N Hollywood Leisure will be revealing more about The Stage Café next week. Keep reading the Evening Star to find out more.

Weblink: www.ollies.info

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