Local pubs change hands

According to the latest industry figures, 18 pubs a week are closing in Britain. This hit close to home when two of the area’s most popular local pubs closed unexpectedly earlier this year.

Pub patrons were surprised and disappointed to learn that the King’s Head in Wadenhoe and the Chequered Skipper in Ashton both closed within weeks of each other.

The Chequered Skipper was a favourite local pub, with high quality food, welcoming staff, and a great atmosphere. The previous licensee, Kay Hague told the Chronicle in February: “Sadly, the summer was not as profitable as we had hoped. We had an unfortunate situation with the green, which was closed for a while whilst benches were being made safe, and that lost the business a bit of momentum at a critical time.

“We do believe it can be a successful business in the future and wish any future owners every success and encourage the local community to support this wonderful pub.”

The good news for pub patrons is that the Chequered Skipper quickly found new owners and opened in early May. Paul Andreff and April Mccully, two entrepreneurs who have been living in the village for more than eleven years, are excited about reviving an important hub for the community. With new benches for the green, a new menu to include bespoke picnics, tapas, fine dining, catering for functions and beer festivals, the pub will once again live up to its popular reputation.

The King’s Head in Wadenhoe dates to the seventeenth century and enjoys a sprawling garden that rolls down to the river, with tables overlooking the boats as they pass by. The setting is so beautiful that it has been described as the best situated pub in England. It had collected over 100 five star reviews on Facebook, making it one of the best pubs in the area.

After the journalist Simon Hoggart attended the Oundle Festival of Literature in 2007, he wrote about his visit to the pub in his Guardian column: “We sat in the sun in what must be one of the most idyllic settings in the country. It was another reminder that there are still some gorgeous, unspoilt places left here.”

The owners of the pub, the Wadenhoe Trust could not offer any information about the closure. They have instructed King West to advertise for a new tenant.

The Wadenhoe Parish Council reported: “The Kings Arms pub has ceased to trade and the Trust hope to locate a new tenant to run it. As long as it runs satisfactorily the Trust will keep the pub open.”

Giorgio Capuzello
May 2019