Branch & Local News 2014
The Rose & Crown (now the Rose Of Farington, Farington) would appear to be the first pub casualty of 2014. Just one week into the new year the pub (which is owned by Star Pubs & Bars) is closed and has a sign that the freehold is currently up for sale. On the face of it 2013 was not the best of years for the Rose & Crown, with the longstanding landlord having moved to the nearby Queens, Leyland towards the end of the previous year and with real ale only being available intermittently.
**January 2014 Update - The Rose & Crown now has a new owner and after a refurbishment will be re-opening in February.
Another pub now under new ownership is the Moorbrook, Preston. Famously this pub was the birthplace of CAMRA West Lancashire branch (as we then were) in 1973. More news about the new owners to follow in due course.
Also closing this month is the Hayrick (now the Woodsman, Clayton-le-Woods), although in this instance the closure will only be temporary while the pub undergoes a refurbishment. The pub has recently had a change of tenant, and on January 19th will be closing for a period of about six weeks.
This month there have been two new additions to the list of pubs that are participating in CAMRA's Pub Discount Scheme. The Grill & Grain At The Boatyard, Riley Green and the Horns, Goosnargh are two more pubs now offering CAMRA members a discount on the price of a pint of real ale. See the Real Ale Discount Scheme page for more information about these and other pubs.
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The Bitter Suite is no more - long live the Ale Emporium. The Ale Emporium (now the Speakeasy, Preston) opened on January 31st to take the place of the former Bitter Suite which had closed about 10 days earlier when joint landladies Paula Bosworth and Kay Vickery finally made their move to leave the local pub scene. The Bitter Suite only came into being as recently as February 2006, but almost immediately it was recognised by local CAMRA members as being one of the branch's most prized real ale outlets, being twice the winner of the prestigious George Lee Memorial Trophy award. Now with a change of ownership, and with a change of name, it is hoped that the pub can continue to keep its place as one of Preston's best real ale pubs and one of the most likely sources to find interesting guest beers. With eight handpumps now in place there should at least be plenty of choice.
On February 20th there was a branch social held at the Horns, Goosnargh, with a mini-bus conveying about 15 branch members to join others already present at the pub. The main reason for the social was the George Lee Memorial Trophy presentation, with Chairman Dave Linley presenting the shield to 2013/14 winner Mark Woods, the owner of the Horns and the head brewer of Goosnargh Brewery. A great time was had by all, with many of those present also taking the opportunity to have a look at the Goosnargh Brewery building and equipment.
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Ale Cry 102, the Spring 2014 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on March 19th. It is as usual full of interesting articles, with news from pubs and clubs in the area - the Ferret, Preston is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient (see POTS Spring 2014).
Punch Taverns seem to have become obsessed with the re-naming of their pubs in the branch area after they have undergone a refurbishment. Last month the former Cattle Market was re-opened after a refurbishment with a new name - the Brook Tavern, Fulwood. This month the former Hayrick will be re-opening after a refurbishment with a new name - the Woodsman, Clayton-le-Woods. A third pub that was planned to be re-named after a refurbishment was the Old Oak (now the Oak, Hoghton) which was to have become the Cromwell. However for a number of reasons the proposed name change was not welcomed by regulars and local residents and a campaign was launched to oppose Punch Taverns action. Within days the campaign had been successful with Punch Taverns subsequently announcing that the pub name would remain unchanged.
It is not just Punch Taverns who are wanting to make pub name changes. Already this year the former Bitter Suite has been re-named the Ale Emporium (now the Speakeasy, Preston), while the former Rose & Crown has been re-named the Rose Of Farington, Farington. Hopefully the refurbished Moorbrook, Preston will not have a new name when it re-opens in a couple of months time.
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On April 14th there was a branch social held at the Ferret, Preston, with 15 branch members being present on the night. The social was arranged with the Ferret having been chosen as the branch's Pub of the Season for Spring 2014, and pictured above is CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Dave Linley, together with Venue Manager Stephanie, Cellar Manager Adam, and Head of the Continental group Jeremy Rowlands.
On April 24th the Dressers Arms, Wheelton was damaged by a serious fire. The pub will be closed for a considerable time, although reports are that it will re-opening once all restoration work is complete. The Dressers Arms was a regular Good Beer Guide entry for many years, and was for a time the home of the Old Wheelton Brewery. Below the Dressers Arms, after the fire, and with no roof.
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The Moorbrook, Preston re-opened on May 23rd after several weeks closure while a refurbishment took place. Earlier this year the pub was sold by Thwaites Brewery and it is now in private ownership as a free house. The new owners are Sue Woods and Gary Culshaw, and there are family connections to the people at the Continental, Preston and the Ferret, Preston. On re-opening the pub was selling Thwaites Original plus a good selection of cask ales from interesting micro-breweries. It is also selling a selection of craft keg beers - which makes this pub a good place for local drinkers to sample one and see what all the fuss is about.
At the May branch meeting there was a discussion about Thwaites Brewery, with it being reported that there was some uncertainty on just where their beers are currently being brewed, with it known that their regular beers are being brewed outside of Lancashire. This being the situation, it was decided that the branch would remove all pubs and clubs from the LocAle list that are there purely because they are selling Thwaites beers. See LocAle Outlets for the updated list of qualifying pubs and clubs.
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Great news from Thwaites this month, with the announcement that they at last appear to have found a suitable site for their new brewery to be located. If all goes to plan the new Thwaites brewery and visitors centre will be built at Sykes Holt in Mellor Brook, an area of land which is just off the A59. It is still early days - the Sykes Holt Farmhouse is a listed building, and planning permission has yet to be granted - but Thwaites are confident that their proposals will be acceptable and that work on the new brewery will be able to commence in 2015. So it looks like it may still be a couple more years before Thwaites are once again brewing all of their own beers, but this week's announcement is encouraging that the company definitely has a long-term future. Incidentally it has been suggested that this announcement may mean that we are getting a new brewery in our branch area, but unfortunately the recently drawn up branch boundaries reveal that the re-located Thwaites Brewery will be just yards over the border and will remain in CAMRA East Lancashire branch.
More good news regarding Thwaites is that CAMRA Central Lancashire branch have now relaxed their stance on Thwaites beers qualifying for LocAle eligibility. Last month it was reported that we were removing from the LocAle list all pubs and clubs that were there purely because they were selling Thwaites beers. After some re-consideration it has been decided that those pubs that are permanently selling a beer produced from the Blackburn-based Crafty Dan micro-brewery will once again be eligible for LocAle listing. As qualifying pubs and clubs are discovered they will be added to the LocAle Outlets list.
For many years CAMRA Central Lancashire branch has been the only source for publications about pubs in our area. However local pub-goers (and local historians) will definitely be interested in a new book that has just come out. The book is Preston Pubs written by Stephen R Halliwell of Preston's Inns, Taverns, And Beerhouses website fame. This is an excellent publication which provides a history of Preston's many pubs past and present. For the more important and long established pubs there is a well researched summary of their history, while at the back of the book there is a street-by-street listing of all the old inns and taverns known to have existed in Preston over the years. The book is priced at £14.99, but can be got much cheaper on Amazon. Copies can be found in Waterstones and other local bookshops - but see Steve's website above for more information.
**** Also to find more information about lost pubs in the branch area go to Pubs Closed 1973-2019. On this page we are eventually hoping to include details of all pub closures in the branch area year-by-year since the local CAMRA branch came into existence in 1973.
CAMRA's Lancashire Pub of the Year and Lancashire Club of the Year winners for 2014 have both been announced, and it is with great pleasure that we can inform you that the Lancashire Pub of the Year is the Horns, Goosnargh. This was the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch nomination, and it is the first time since 2001 that the branch has been successful with it's pub nomination. A presentation will take place at the pub during the Summer - a date has yet to be arranged. The winner of the Lancashire Club of the Year is the Ighten Leigh Social Club in Burnley. For more information on these awards see the Lancashire Area Awards page.
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Ale Cry 103, the Summer 2014 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on July 2nd. A little later than planned, but well worth the wait, it is as usual full of interesting articles, with news from pubs and clubs in the area - the Market Ale House, Leyland is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient (see POTS Summer 2014), while the Horns, Goosnargh is featured on the front page as the Lancashire Pub of the Year 2014 award winner.
On July 10th there was a branch social held at the Market Ale House, Leyland, with a good number of branch members being present for the event. The social was arranged with the Market Ale House having been chosen as the branch's Pub of the Season for Summer 2014, and on the night new CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Adrian Smith presented the Pub of the Season certificate to landlady Alison Hindle. For more information about this pub and the award, see POTS Summer 2014 and also see the Market Ale House facebook page.
Two pubs currently closed are the Plough, Grimsargh and the Anchor, Hutton. Both pubs are important in that they both serve a village community and both are located quite some distance from the next nearest public house. Hopefully we will soon have some better news about these two pubs as it is understood they will both be undergoing a refurbishment before re-opening later in the year.
**July 2014 Update - The Anchor has already re-opened and is reported to have been selling beers from the nearby Bishop's Crook Brewery. After a couple of months closure the Plough has also now re-opened with a substantial refurbishment having taken place. A third pub, the Cavendish Arms, Brindle which was closed for a couple of months, has also re-opened.
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Following last month's news that the Cavendish Arms, Brindle, the Plough, Grimsargh and the Anchor, Hutton have all re-opened, this month there is more good news regarding the local pub scene. First we have the Derby Arms, Thornley which has been closed for many months, but which will be re-opening on August 7th. Likely to be strongly food-oriented, the pub is now owned by the Seafood Pub Company, the people who own a handful of pubs in Lancashire including the Assheton Arms at Downham. Second we have the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley which will be opening on August 8th and is a new micropub which will initially be selling beers from Adnams, Allgates, Bowland, Wychwood and Burton Bridge breweries. More news to follow, but hopefully this new venture will be as successful as our current Pub of the Season, the Market Ale House, Leyland, and as the photograph shows which other pub in the area provides 'Luxurious Changing Saunas & Spas'.
Over the August Bank Holiday weekend there was a Beer Festival at the Horns, Goosnargh. This was an extremely popular event, which on the Sunday saw a large CAMRA presence, with people in attendance from CAMRA Blackpool Fylde & Wyre branch, CAMRA East Lancashire branch, plus a good number from the host CAMRA Central Lancashire branch. On the day presentations were made to Mark and Denise Woods for the Horns being chosen as CAMRA's Lancashire Pub of the Year for 2014. Pictured above are CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Adrian Smith, Mark, Denise, and CAMRA Regional Director Ray Jackson, with Mark and Denise holding the Tony Buller Shield and the Pub of the Year certificate respectively. Below are the shield and certificate later on display on the Beer Festival bar.
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Ale Cry 104, the Autumn 2014 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on September 11th. This time a day ahead of schedule, it is full of interesting articles, and has news from pubs and clubs in the area - the Crown, Chorley being revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, while the front page article introduces the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley as the second micro-pub to have opened in the branch area.
September 11th was also the official publication date for the 2015 Good Beer Guide. As always an excellent and indispensable publication, this year's edition features 35 pubs from the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
Wetherspoons have now given a date for the opening of their second pub in Preston. If all goes to plan then the Twelve Tellers, Preston, housed in the former Preston Savings Bank building on Church Street, will be opening on Thursday, January 22nd 2015. Once open, this will be the fourth Wetherspoons pub in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
Preston MP Mark Hendrick proclaims that he is 'Putting Preston First! Well this month he has been able to put this into practice by 'Putting a Preston Brewery First!'. Yes, it is good to report that there has been some prestigious recognition for Hart of Preston Brewery, the longest established micro-brewery located in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area. Their beer Lancashire Best Bitter has been honoured by it being featured for one week as the guest ale at the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons. The beer was nominated to make an appearance in this exclusive House of Commons bar by the Preston MP (see Preston's Best Real Ale for more information). However I wonder whether they were charging Preston prices for a pint there?
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After a number of busy weeks the Autumn Beer Festival season finally appears to be coming to an end. Beginning with the August Bank Holiday Weekend there have been Beer Festivals in the area most weekends with over a dozen now known to have taken place in barely two months. The busiest period was the last weekend in September (when there were Beer Festivals at the Speakeasy, Preston and at the Longton VM Sports & Social Club), and the first weekend in October (when there were four Beer Festivals taking place at the same time, at the Continental, Preston, at the Top Lock, Heapey, at Our Lady & St Gerard's Parochial Centre, Lostock Hall, and at the Preston Marriott Hotel). At the time of writing there is just one Autumn Beer Festival still to take place, that is the Oktober Bierfest which is at the Chorley Army Reserve Drill Hall over the October 16th-18th weekend. However beer tickers need not worry too much as no doubt there will be yet more Beer Festivals taking place in the run up to Christmas. See the Local Beer Festivals page for the most up-to-date place for information on Beer Festivals in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
On October 20th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Crown, Chorley, with 14 branch members plus many others being present on the night. The meeting and social was arranged with the Crown having been chosen as the branch's Pub of the Season for Autumn 2014, and on the night CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Adrian Smith presented the Pub of the Season certificate to landlord David Holliday. For more information about this pub and the award, see POTS Autumn 2014.
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The CAMRA Central Lancashire branch website has moved house. We used to be at www.centrallancscamra.org.uk. We are now at www.centrallancs.camra.org.uk. Hopefully this will not cause too much confusion.
After being closed as a consequence of fire damage the Dressers Arms, Wheelton has now re-opened. As we reported in April the Dressers Arms was partially destroyed by fire and was then looking to be in a very sorry state. Six months later it is 'business as normal' with the pub re-opening on November 4th with some major internal changes, and with eight handpumps including a good selection of real ales.
Two other long-closed pubs have also recently re-opened. The Wheatsheaf, Coppull has re-opened after being closed for almost three and a half years, while the Swan, Higher Walton has re-opened after being closed for over two years. Perhaps there is still hope for some of the other long-closed pubs in the area that appear to be waiting for conversion into accommodation or for some another use.
While November may have been a good month for pub re-openings, there is also news of a new pub opening. The Bob Inn, Chorley has opened on Chorley Market, becoming the second micropub in Chorley and the third in the branch area. The pub is owned by the Merseyside-based Occasional Drink company and is open 10am to 6pm every day except Sundays. It has three handpumps, and at any time will be selling two guest beers. However from the photograph the big question must be - where's the entrance?
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Ale Cry 105, the Winter 2014/15 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on December 5th. Constantly praised by CAMRA Regional Director Ray Jackson, and variously described on the internet as 'an excellent publication' and 'the town's greatest comedy publication', it is as usual full of interesting articles, with news from pubs and clubs in the area. The Towneley Arms, Longridge is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, while the front page article introduces the Bob Inn, Chorley as the third micro-pub to have opened in the branch area.
CAMRA Central Lancashire Branch held its Christmas Meeting on December 15th at the Ale Emporium in Preston. There were over 30 local CAMRA members present for the meeting and social, and as usual a good time was had by all. One of the most important items on the agenda was the voting for the 2014-15 George Lee Memorial Trophy winner. This is the branch's premier award which is made to the pub, organisation, or person that branch members consider to have done the most for real ale locally during the previous year. There were four nominations this time round, and on the night it proved to be a closely fought home win with the Speakeasy, Preston being successful by getting just one more vote than the Moorbrook, Preston, with the Market Ale House, Leyland and the Top Lock, Heapey being the other nominations. A great achievement as the Ale Emporium has not yet been open for a year, although the pub was twice a GLMT winner in its days as the Bitter Suite. Congratulations go to the Pete, Trish, and the staff at the Ale Emporium. The George Lee Memorial Trophy shield will be presented at a social to be held there on February 5th 2015.
As in 2013 December has been the month for a new pub to open in the branch area. This year the new pub is the long awaited second Buckshaw Village pub, the War Horse, Buckshaw Village, which opened on December 8th and which is a short walk from Buckshaw Parkway Railway Station. As the second pub in Buckshaw Village, it follows on from the Bobbin Mill, Buckshaw Village which opened in April 2008, and like the Bobbin Mill it is a pub which is largely food oriented. The War Horse is part of Greene King's Hungry Horse pub estate, another of their pubs in the branch area being the Lea Gate, Lea. It becomes the third new pub to open in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area during 2014, the others being the two Chorley micropubs, the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley and the Bob Inn, Chorley.