Customers will soon be stampeding towards Chester’s Bull and Stirrup which has undergone a major revamp after being taken over by JD Wetherspoon.
The 128-year-old pub and hotel is relaunching on Tuesday, February 28, with a celebrity opening by Ricky Tomlinson, better known as TV’s Jim Royle from The Royle Family.
Among the radical changes are the relocation of the bar to a rear extension set within a large outdoor area where the car park used to be. And the hotel will feature 12 brand new en suite rooms.
Regulars from its previous incarnation will notice many features have been retained including the tiled mural of ‘Edgar’s Eight’ when eight subsidiary princes rowed King Edgar up the Dee.
Wetherspoon’s took over the Upper Northgate Street hotel in 2014 with the promise of a £2.3m investment.
Planning and listed building consent was obtained for the single storey rear extension and internal alterations.
And the premises licence was amended so in theory the pub can open from 7am and sell alcohol on and off the premises from 9am seven-days-a-week.
The Bull and Stirrup has an interesting history.
Designed by W M Boden, the impressive hotel was built in Ruabon brick and opened in 1889. The name Bull and Stirrup was inspired by the nearby cattle market which used to be based at Gorse Stacks.
On August 31, 1972, the pub famously hosted a strike committee, involving one Ricky Tomlinson – real name Eric Tomlinson – who helped organise the first ever national building workers’ strike, which is why he has been invited to reopen the place.
Ricky was among the 24-strong ‘Shrewsbury Pickets’ later prosecuted under the 1875 Conspiracy Act and he served 16 months in jail.