Rushden pub given £200,000 lease of life in heart of the community
The pub will offer a family-friendly environment with games and good food
A landmark Rushden backstreet pub has been transformed by two of its regulars to save the Victorian watering hole from being potentially converted into flats.
The King Edward VII, that stands on the corner of Cromwell Road and Queen Street, had lain empty for several years after a succession of landlords had taken on the business.
Greg Cunnington and Billy Boddington, two local businessmen, now have the lease on the pub and after a £200,000 refurbishment re-opened the doors to the spruced-up boozer at the weekend.
Using the venue as a makeshift office, the two imagined what they would if they owned the pub over a pint but it was merely a dream until one day Greg was brought into the building to help with a security problem.
Greg, 34, said: "The owners wanted me to look at the alarm and I said it was a shame that the building was empty. He said they wanted to lease it out but needed the right people. We did a deal there and then.
"We used to drink here and use the place as a space and sat here and said what we would do if we owned the pub."
The pair collaborated on the refurbishment including new windows and doors, a new internal layout with new toilets and kitchen areas, a rebuilt outdoor area, and all new electrics and heating throughout.
Investing £200,000 the pair were keen to bring the pub back to its former glory and to save its future.
Greg said: "We've gone all out. We've taken on this project to stop the building being turned into flats, and to give something back to the community. I've lived around here all my life and so has Billy. This is our local."
Billy said: "It's a proper family pub. We're going to have good pub food, with tasty Thai food in the evenings."
The new company, trading under the name the King Edward VII Ltd, will see Billy taking on the majority of the day-to-day running of the pub.
Cutting the official ribbon on Saturday, August 28, was mayor of Rushden Cllr Melanie Coleman and charity fundraisers The Pink Builders who were joined by locals eager to step inside the transformed pub.
Cllr Coleman said: "It's an amazing transformation. It's so good to have a family pub back in this area and it's great to see it buzzing - it's so classy."
As well as an outdoor area, the pub boasts a pool table, TVs, comfy seating areas and a side bar for darts and a retro computer games machine.
Dan Stocker was one of the first customers to be welcomed back to the pub.
He added: "It's the biggest transformation that Rushden has ever seen - it was such a dump."