Document 65828

New landlord
boxes clever at
Cat & Fiddle
The Bantam
grows up
Arkell’s Brewery has invested thousands of
pounds in a community pub built less than fifty
years ago.
One of Cheltenham’s biggest and best-known
community pubs now has a new face in place,
and he’s determined to put the Arkell’s pub back
into the ring.
Popular local pub The Bantam at Burghfield
Common, built in 1962, has undergone a makeover thanks to the brewery, which invested more
than £150,000 extending the bar area, installing a
new kitchen and adding new loos, including
disabled facilities.
Commonwealth boxing bronze medal-winner and
former solider Pat Lewis has taken over The Cat and
Fiddle on Whaddon Road, Cheltenham, with his
partner Caroline Kapesi.
And just a few weeks after taking over, the pub’s
been repainted, recarpeted and local people who
haven’t set foot in the pub for years are coming in
and playing pool, darts and getting to know each
other again.
Pat and Caroline are well-known in Cheltenham for
the work Pat does at his boxing academy, where he
offers young people in need of a little discipline the
opportunity to try out boxing.
“At my gym, I offer a place to go and a safe
environment. This pub’s the same, although of
Pat Lewis and Caroline
Kapesi from the Cat & Fiddle
course we don’t allow boxing gloves here and our
customers are over 18.”
Pat and Caroline met during Cheltenham Race
Week twelve years’ ago and fell in love immediately,
and they were ready for this year’s race-goers who
flooded into the pub, including boxing heros Rob
McCracken and Errol ‘bomber’ Graham.
George Arkell said: “Pat and Caroline are just the
sort of people who will make a success of The Cat
and Fiddle and we’re delighted they’ve become
Arkell’s landlords. A perfect combination for a busy
town pub.”
George Arkell said: “We bought The Bantam in
2000 and it’s proved a great success with the
locals who’ve supported it well. Community pubs
are the life-blood of a built-up residential area and
we feel investment is essential to give our
customers what they expect and what we feel they
We’ve updated and reprinted our pub guide,
detailing all our pubs and up to date information on
their facilities.
Every Arkell’s pub is well worth a
visit because all our pubs are
different, depending where they
are and what our customers
We don’t believe in national
We believe in
No beef about Sunday
lunch at The Plough
A 27-year old landlord entrepreneur has not
only put Sunday lunch on the menu, but most of
it on his bar too.
When Mark Beales, who runs The Plough at Badbury,
decided to offer a bit more than complementary
crisps and peanuts, he boosted trade and made his
customers very happy. Mark puts bowls of roast
potatoes and Yorkshire puddings on the bar during
Sunday lunchtimes to encourage his customers to
taste his menu, and it’s been so successful that his
pub is now packed out at weekends and he’s had to
double his weekly order of King Edwards.
Arkell’s Brewery Ltd, Kingsdown, Stratton, Swindon SN2 7RU
Tel: 01793 823026 Fax: 01793 828864 email: [email protected]
Now, almost 300 villagers have raised £2000 for the
Thames Air Ambulance charity.
The pub’s virtual village caught the imagination of the
local newspaper and TV too, and Julia and Rose were
interviewed, which attracted even more ‘villagers’.
West Berkshire CAMRA Chairman Adrian Bean said
“With its very remote location, the Fox and Hounds
could have taken the easy way out and become just
another out of town restaurant but instead the
licensees decided to create their own virtual village.
Gary added: “This is a sports pub and there’s a
great atmosphere here. All this work has kickstarted a great 2008 for me and my customers.”
No beef about Sunday
lunch at The Plough
Customers pay a pound to charity and become an
honorary World’s Bottom villager, in return receiving
invites to special events and the warm feeling that
comes with being part of a community.
Rose said: “It was a light-hearted idea which really
caught on with those around us. Now the pub’s got a
great community spirit – without having a community
The upgrading of the pub was completed in
February, now the extended bar offers a new area
for snooker and other pub games.
Arkell’s new Pub Guide for 2008
Copies will soon be available in
all our pubs so look out for them.
Inside you’ll find a history of our
beautiful brewery, and of the
age-old art of brewing as well as
a complete list of all our pubs
and hotels.
It might lie in the countryside with no village close by,
but that hasn’t stopped The Fox and Hounds from
winning the CAMRA award for best community pub in
West Berkshire.
”It goes against the idea you need to be surrounded by
bricks and mortar to build a successful community.”
“It’s definitely worth the
‘hunt’ for this Fox & Hounds.”
Design by storm-dc 07795 430430 words and pictures by Nicky Godding Communications 01285 653006
“Whaddon is the biggest community in Cheltenham
and we’re determined to make this pub somewhere
everyone wants to visit,” said Pat, 44.
“I’ve always wanted my own pub and The Cat and
Fiddle has got so much potential, we can’t wait to
get it established,” she said. “It’s big, and since
we’ve redecorated, it’s bright and a lot more inviting
than before.”
Fox and Hounds wins CAMRA award
for virtual village
Landlord Gary Clutterbuck is delighted. He said:
“The Bantam is a focal point in the village of Omers
Rise and it is busiest in the winter months when
customers don’t really want to travel miles for a
good evening out, so I’m really pleased with the
The former boxer and father-of-three, who also owns
Cheltenham Boxing Academy, is working with local
brewery Arkell’s to transform the pub into a hub of
the local community.
For Pat’s partner, Caroline, who is an accountant,
it’s a dream come true.
Spring 2008 | Issue 10
With so many villages losing their pubs, last year the
Fox and Hounds at Donnington near Newbury decided
to fill the void by creating its own ‘virtual’ village.
Landlord Julia MeGarry and manager Rose Howe
named the village “World’s Bottom” and invited
regular customers to become ‘residents’.
The pub’s award was announced during National
Community Pub week.
James Arkell said: “Sometimes the wildest of ideas
produce the most wonderful results. Julia, Rose and
their customers have really entered into the spirit of
Community Pubs Week. Julia, has been with Arkell’s
since 1996 and runs a lovely, welcoming pub. Not
everyone gets golf balls on their front lawn from the
adjacent Golf course or virtual villagers in their bars.
“It’s definitely worth the ‘hunt’ for this Fox & Hounds.”
Arkell’s brews up new conference venue
delegates, and lunch at the brewery tap The
Kingsdown Inn, next door. The conference room also
has its own entrance off Beechcroft Road and an
exclusive car park for conference room visitors only.
Arkell’s brews up new
conference venue
Swindon now has a unique business venue with
the opening of a brand new conference room at
the brewery.
The Brewery House Conference room can cater for 60
people theatre style, or 32 conference style.
Facilities include air conditioning, secure wireless
internet, computer and presentation equipment.
French doors open out onto a pretty terrace
overlooking the brewery’s private garden. One facility
completely unique to this conference venue is the offer
of a walkthrough of the brewery for conference
Without any promotion, the new venue is already in
demand with local businesses, and Nick Arkell says
that word of mouth has guaranteed a steady stream
of bookings since late last year.
“We hope that it will become the venue of choice
for those who want a private environment where
they can work, but with the added attraction of
being located in a building of historic interest which
is home not only to one of the few family
breweries left in the UK, but
which also houses
one of the finest
examples of a
Victorian steam
brewery in the
George, Peter and James
at the Brewery
Hello all –
James here
My father, Peter, who broke his hip last October, has
been fighting to get back to health and longs to
come in and see us all. The hip mended well;
however, the other leg has proved less than useful
in trying to get back to fitness – bit like Douglas
Bader! Nevertheless, he has been seen in the bar
at the George, Kempsford and at the Freke Arms.
His regular, the Victoria Inn, Eastleach has also been
visited. We are hoping he will be well enough to join
us on 15th April, when the Mayor of Swindon, Cllr
Michael Barnes and the Mayoress, Sue Barnes,
make their official visit here to the Brewery. Mum
(Anne) is full of beans – also not driving, but
cracking along well.
George is pregnant again! Well, Alice is – Oliver and
Isobel are wonderful (there speaks a doting
Grandfather)! George is now 2nd Lt G Arkell of the
Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry and going well. He looks
really fit on all those army rations. My daughter,
Emma is cooking like mad and son John, is in the
Army – Afghanistan, Skiing (won the Army downhill
gold); Salisbury Plain; South Africa playing rugby and
now back to serious soldiering. Youngest son,
Alexander, is in his final 3 months at University,
studying Philosophy.
I am fine – you know usual mid-life crisis – bad back
– bad wrist – too much weight – gone grey – hearing
difficult and wearing specs!
I am really proud of all our pubs and what you do –
many thanks. Looking forward to a good summer.
Spring 2008 | Issue 10
Standing room only at The Bell
Old Town bar
‘Long’ Service
this year
But they’re not complaining. “It’s great,” added
Jackie. “The community came out in force to
welcome us and we responded by giving them a
warm, friendly pub where they can eat and drink in
“Our days are longer, but it’s such a lovely pub that
we don’t mind at all,” added Jackie.
Jason and Jackie Pritchett stop
for a breather at The Bell
Long’s Bar Landlord Mike Sheridan, who worked
at the pub for more than ten years before taking
over as landlord three years’ ago, is planning a
year of celebration, including a party during the
summer. “Perhaps we should have it in June, on
the ‘Long-est’ Day,” he says.
Long’s Bar, on Victoria Road, has been owned by
Arkell’s since 1877. Originally called The Belle Vue,
the brewery refurbished and renamed it Long’s in
1988 when it became, and remains, Old Town’s
most popular bar.
Renamed Long’s because it stretches back along
the length of Union Row into Belle Vue Road
behind, inside there is a bar, seating areas,
conservatory and a separate cocktail bar.
James Arkell said: “Long’s continues to prosper
because it’s well supported by the local business
and residential community and to maintain that
attraction, it’s successfully adapted to changing
customer demands.”
The smoking ban last year could have proved
difficult for Long’s, but instead landlord Mike
Mike Sheridan and Shaun
Presley at Longs Bar in Swindon
brought in a first class chef to boost the bar’s
food offer.
New Chef Shaun Presley, who has more than 20
years’ experience, took over Long’s kitchens a
month ago, since when the demand for food has
rocketed – including for the bar’s unique ‘goose fat
fried chips’, which he thinks are a first for Swindon.
Mike added: “We’ve suddenly become very popular
with families for Sunday lunches,” he said. “This is
a new and welcome business, and very different
from our week-day trade.
“2008’s going to be Long’s year, and we’re already
looking forward to the next 20.”
It was standing room only at The Bell, Purton
Stoke near Swindon when new landlords Jason
and Jackie Pritchett took over just before
History of Long’s Bar:
Before it was renamed as Long’s bar in 1988, The Belle
Vue pub had a long history. The building facing onto
Victoria Road was once a brewery, built by Philip Cockbill
in 1863 with The Belle Vue pub at the back of the
building, facing onto Belle Vue Road.
Philip died in 1873 and his son, William, put the business
up for sale. Arkell's stepped in to buy the building,
eventually turning it round so that the beerhouse was on
Victoria Road. The former pub at the back was put to
various uses, at one time being utilised as the Royal Navy
Club. Now the part facing onto Belle Vue Road is Long’s
cocktail bar and the old brewery at the front houses the
main Long’s Bar.
The couple, who are new to the licensed trade, were
amazed at the response from locals.
“With all the talk of endangered rural country pubs,
we’d thought that running a rural country pub would
be a quiet affair which would give us the time to
learn the business before having to cope with a full
bar and a fully-booked Sunday lunchtime
restaurant,” said Jackie.
“Graham has been a huge asset to the brewery
over the last four decades,” he said. “He’s seen
interior design fashion come and go and tirelessly
set about redecorating the same pubs over and
over again. He’s a lovely man and all the brewery
staff and his growing team of painters will miss
Graham Compton’s colleagues do a ‘Painter’s
salute to their former colleague and his wife Angela
He might not have painted the town red, but
Graham Compton has painted every Arkell’s pub
in blue, green, cream and practically every
colour under the sun since he started work at
the brewery in 1968.
Now, after 40 years with a brush and paint pot in
his hands, Graham has hung up his overalls in the
brewery paintshop and retired, saying the first job
he’ll be doing is redecorating his own house.
At a special party, thrown in his honour at
Arkell’s Brewery with his family invited as special
guests, James Arkell paid tribute to one of the
brewery’s longest serving and most respected
Over the years Graham reckons he must have
painted some of the pubs more than five or six
times. “I’ve not painted the town red, but I’ve
certainly done that to many of its pubs,” he said.
Jackie and Jason have wanted to run their own
pub for years but waited until now, when right pub
came along and their children were more
Dave and Anita Lee, Landlords at The Freke
Arms near Highworth, and their determined bar
staff sold 220 teddies for The Prospect Hospice
over Christmas – more than any other Arkell’s
pub in Swindon helping to raise money for this
worthwhile local charity.
David and Anita raised £345 for the charity, which
just goes to show that a rural pub can punch
above its weight when raising money for charity.
The Prospect Hospice provides specialist care and
support for people living with a life-threatening
illness and their families. The care it provides is
free of charge so the hospice is reliant on local
Jackie had worked in Cirencester for a company
sourcing electrical components and Jason is a self
employed roof contractor.
George added: “With Jason and Jackie’s previous
professional backgrounds we’re sure they’ll raise
the roof and add a new spark to the pub.”
Anita and David Lee with Jane Kendall of
Prospect and Margaret Leech from the brewery
Local sporting heros make great landlords
Arkell’s painter has brush with retirement
Over the last 40 years as the Arkell’s estate of
pubs has more than doubled to the present 106,
Graham’s team of painters, decorators and
signwriters was boosted to its current total of
eight. He explained: “I joined the brewery after
working as a coach painter at Swindon’s Great
Western Railway works. Then, there were only 50
pubs and two of us to paint them, but since James
came into the business the brewery’s estate has
grown. When I started, the fashion was for
wallpaper and carpets. That’s now changed to
paint and wooden floors, so over the last years as
the carpets have been coming up, we’ve been
stripping off the wallpaper and covering the walls
with paint.”
George Arkell, said: “Contrary to popular myth,
many rural pubs are thriving as landlords
successfully adapt their business to the demands
of their customers. The Bell at Purton Stoke is a
really lovely little pub and it’s supported well by
those living in and around the village.”
Landlords ‘bear’ all
Wednesday and Aston Villa. It was all I knew and
when my professional career was coming to an end
I wanted to find something that would give me a
buzz. I’d done pub relief work at one of Arkell’s
biggest pubs, The Moonrakers and really enjoyed it,
so I approached the brewery and put my name
down as a prospective landlord.”
winter months,” he said. Phil has also led trips
abroad as well as to the local dog racetrack.
It wasn’t long before the Swindon family brewery
offered him the tenancy at another town pub where
he almost doubled trade within the first few weeks.
“The event took over my life,” he said. “I’d do it
again, but not every year!”
A year later, a vacancy came up in a bigger Arkell’s
pub, The Dolphin, and Phil hasn’t looked back.
Phil King behind the bar at
The Dolphin in Swindon.
Aston Villa and Swindon Town football legend Phil
King carved a great new career for himself as an
Arkell’s landlord. So has speedway star Alun
Rossiter and another former Swindon Town
footballer Andy Rowland. Then there is former
Gloucester Rugby player Nigel Scrivens at The
Bee’s Knees in Cirencester and boxer Pat Lewis
who has just taken over at Arkell’s pub The Cat
and Fiddle in Cheltenham.
What is about sporting heros that make great
Phil King hung up his professional football boots in
2000, but has now built up The Dolphin in Swindon
into one of the most popular pubs in town.
He said: “I’d been a football player from the age of
14 years old, playing for Swindon, Sheffield
Brewery director George Arkell thinks that sporting
stars make good landlords because they relate to
their customers in a similar way to their fans.
“Responsible sportsmen and women realize how
important their fans are and treat them with respect.
As landlords, this is translated into respect for their
customers,” he said.
Most recently he dedicated six weeks of his life to
organizing a ‘footballing legends game’ at Swindon
Town football club where former national and
international footballing stars volunteered to play,
raising money for a local hospice.
Over at another Arkell’s pub in Swindon,The New
Inn, former speedway star Alun Rossiter is now copromoter and manager of Swindon Robins
speedway team and follows the same approach as
Phil, allowing his enthusiasm of sport to infect his
customers. In Cirencester, former Gloucester Rugby
Club star, Nigel Scrivens, continues to be one of the
town’s most popular landlords at Arkell’s pub The
Bee’s Knees.
Over the years a host of professional darts players,
rugby players and other sports stars have stepped
behind an Arkell’s bar and the brewery always treats
applications from former sports stars with particular
“It’s not just that they relate well to their
customers,” said George. “They also tend to be very
sociable, organizing a host of pub activities. It makes
the pub a community hub where everyone can
get involved.”
Phil King confirms this view. “We’ve got four pool
teams, two darts team and five football teams –
they’re what keep the pub going during the quieter
George Arkell added: “The best landlords are those
who keep run a tight but sociable pub, and that
takes self-discipline - something that most sports
stars have in abundance.”