Biggleswade’s The Crown Hotel to reopen next week as Wetherspoon pub
PUBLISHED: 17:30 31 July 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2017
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon is set to open its new pub and hotel in Biggleswade next week – with the creation of 75 new jobs.
The company has spent £2.7 million developing the High Street site which used to house The Crown Hotel.
The establishment will keep The Crown Hotel name once it opens its doors to thirsty punters on Tuesday, August 8.
The original Grade II-listed section of the building has been refurbished after liaising with conservation officers, and to the rear of the building there is a new single storey extension – housing the new bar and kitchen.
Manager Bogdan Huica said: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub, as well as hotel guests.
“We’re confident it will be a great addition to the Biggleswade community.”
The present site reflects the town’s rich heritage, paying homage to the ‘Great Fire of Biggleswade’, which started at the hotel on June 16, 1785.
Legend has it that a servant dumped ashes from the kitchen fire near some dry straw in the yard.
The fire spread quickly, eventually destroying a third of the old town – including the Crown, several maltings and more than 100 houses.
By 1793, the Crown had been rebuilt as a coaching inn replacing an earlier inn of the same name, which is thought to have dated back to around 1672.
A mosaic mural – part of a Central Bedfordshire Council-sponsored history artwork project – depicting the Great Fire, as well as Samuel Pepys’ visit to the town, has been included in the yard of the pub.
The final tile was put in place by 96-year-old Nora Balfe who, with her late husband, was landlady of The Crown from 1962-1985.
Nora will also officially open the new pub next week.
Artwork on display in the hotel bedrooms and hallways was produced by pupils from the town’s Stratton Upper School.
Historical photos and details of local history, as well as artwork and images of local scenes and characters of the area, are displayed in the pub, together with information boards relating to events.
Assistance in compiling the display was received from Sandra Ransom and Ken Page from Biggleswade History Society, and Kirsty McGill of the Bedfordshire Archives Service.
There is a also feature wall of cogs and wheels in the pub, and several of the light fittings pick up on this theme.
They relate to the 1860-born Dan Albone who was known for inventing the light farm tractor and the Ivel Safety bicycle.
The new-look pub features one bar and a courtyard beer garden, which runs from the front to the back of the property, with customers able to stroll under the centuries-old original coaching arch at the front.
The Crown Hotel will specialise in real ales, as well as craft and world beers, serving a wide range of different draught ales, as well as bottled beers, including those from local and regional brewers.
The pub will be wheelchair accessible and have a specially-adapted toilet for people with disabilities on the ground floor of the main pub.
The new pub will be open from 7am until midnight Sunday to Thursday, and 7am until 1am on Friday and Saturday.
Food will be served throughout the day, from opening until 11pm, every day.
The hotel comprises nine rooms, six doubles, one twin and two family rooms, which are on the first and second floor levels of the building.