3 February 2009
Hurrah, I’ve found a recently abandoned late Victorian building that has escaped being either demolished or turned into apartments (I am tired of typing the A word.) Better still, it’s a pub. A recently reopened pub.
The Bay Horse on Marygate has been standing empty for the last few years, and at one stage it could have been turned into flats, as there was a planning application to do just that.
Indeed there may have been several planning applications, as this building seems to have been empty and disused for so long. But, happily, it has reopened as a pub, and with its exterior handsomely repainted.
These photos above are of the pub as it was before refurbishment. Over the years it was empty I wandered past a few times and thought it was a waste of what looked like a good solid building. (Though the pigeons seem to have found their way into the roof space – they’re good at using what we waste.) Originally built in 1894 – as it states in carved stone above the door – it is one of those solid looking, purpose-built pubs built for the refreshment of the working man in late Victorian times. Designed by the architect Penty, it replaced a pub on the other side of the road, which was demolished. (At one time there were buildings obscuring much of the abbey wall along Marygate.)
It is a listed building (Grade II), but we do have a lot of those in this city – they’re everywhere you look – and this building never really looked like anything special, not that I noticed anyway.
It looks special now, thanks to the elegant paintwork. I’ve noticed in recent years that the paintwork on older buildings is more likely to be redecorated in muted shades of rich cream, rather than the brilliant white or off-white we used to automatically use for window frames and the like. It looks so good you wonder why anyone ever did anything else.
I can’t report on the interior, as I had to continue on my photographic wandering, so didn’t go inside and partake of the fine cask ales (I know the photos are a bit wonky and look like maybe I did). It would be nice to visit this pub on a warmer day, when I could perhaps sit outside and have a cigarette at the same time as a drink, while dreaming of the old days when we could enjoy a couple of chosen poisons at the same time.
This is a fine pub in a good location – it’s a shame it closed in the first place, and we should all raise a glass to the people who have taken it on. Preferably raising one of their own glasses, while in the bar, as they’ll need our support to keep it up and running.
Though if you do go out to this pub to enjoy yourself, obviously bear in mind government guidelines on how many units you should drink, jog energetically all the way home (noticing on the way home the handy council-supplied banners reminding you to get rid of your ‘squidgy bits’), and eat at least five portions of fruit and veg when you get in.
Seriously though, good to see a pub opening rather than closing.
I continued my walk, on a wintertime city centre wander, looking to see what else had closed, opened, been rebuilt or repainted.