Modelling agency 'so excited' to take over former home of Cookes Pianos

The Sandra Reynolds Model Agency team standing outside their new premises on Westwick Street

The Sandra Reynolds Model Agency team standing outside their new premises on Westwick Street. Seventh from the left stands MD Tessa Dewing - Credit: Sandra Reynolds Model Agency/ Brown&Co

A Norwich modelling agency is filling the blank space left by Cookes Pianos in St Benedicts Street — and hopes the venue will become its "forever head office".

Sandra Reynolds Model Agency is moving out of Bacon House, the building it has rented in St George's Street since 1977, and in to 23 Westwick Street.

The new site, which has a first-floor level facing St Benedicts Street, was formerly occupied by Cookes Pianos — and was for sale with Brown&Co for £325,000.

The premises was formerly occupied by Cookes Pianos, and has a first-floor level in St Benedicts Street

The premises was formerly occupied by Cookes Pianos, and has a first-floor level in St Benedicts Street - Credit: Brown&Co

Founded in 1887, Cookes announced last month it was relocating to Cambridge — blaming Norfolk County Council's pedestrianisation project for dwindling footfall.

But for Tessa Dewing, managing director of the modelling agency, the spot is ideal.

"We’d rented the building in St George’s Street since 1977 from Norwich City Council and were never able to buy it", she said.

"I’d always driven past Cookes with the beautiful grand piano in the window, and thought if that ever comes up for sale it would be perfect for us.

Ms Dewing said she loved the interiors of the new building - and couldn't wait to move in

Ms Dewing said she loved the interiors of the new building - and couldn't wait to move in - Credit: Brown&Co

"When I saw this for sale I was so excited but never thought we'd get it.

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"I’m really looking forward to getting to work on it now — it’s going to be our forever head office.

"We'll have three floors of offices and a photographic studio, as well as a meeting room.

"The building has lovely fireplaces, ceiling roses and wooden floors. It's beautiful."

Ms Dewing said she had builders booked to start in January with an opening date of June 2022 pencilled in the diary.

Ms Dewing said she loved the interiors of the new building - and couldn't wait to move in

Ms Dewing said she loved the interiors of the new building - and couldn't wait to move in - Credit: Brown&Co

Work is scheduled to cost around £100,000.

Ms Dewing, who took over the business founded by her mother, said the company had outgrown its current home over the last five decades and now had 25 staff members.

Her move comes as the model agency continues to attract big big business from London and other national firms.

Some of the brands the team has hosted this year includes Joules, Next, Mint Velvet and ASOS.

Simon Pollard, managing director of Millers Music, at his store on Sussex Street in Cambridge

Simon Pollard, managing director of Millers Music, is moving Cookes Pianos to his Cambridge site - leaving St Benedicts after more than 130 years in business - Credit: Millers Music

And despite all the pressures the industry has faced during the pandemic, Ms Dewing stressed that she still loved her job.

"It's great when you nurture a new model then see them in their first campaign, or in a TV ad on a Saturday night.", she added. "It's so rewarding."


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