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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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New lease of life for historic Workington pub

A well-known Workington landlord has bought the town’s dilapidated Curwen Arms.

curwen 0612
NEW LANDLORD: Paul McGee outside the Curwen Arms, Workington, which has been empty for over a year

Businessman Paul McGee hopes to open it as The Henry Curwen next year following a refurbishment.

The pub, which was once a mainstay of the town’s pub circuit, has stood empty for more than a year.

Mr McGee, who runs the Old Red House on King Street, said: “The Curwen is a big miss, and hopefully its reopening will help revive the circuit.

“I know people will say ‘what are you doing taking on a pub in this day and age?’ but I think it will be good for Workington.

“I’m not just going to give it a superficial makeover.

“I want to completely refurbish it.”

The number of staff in the Bridge Street venue will depend on whether or not Mr McGee decides that food is served, but it could be more than 20.

Mr McGee, who also runs PM Security, has had the Old Red House for the past four years. He will continue there until next November when the lease is due to expire.

He said: “I have enjoyed my four years in the Red House but it’s time for an exciting new business venture. The venue has a lot of potential.

“It has a beer garden and I think that will be a winner during the summer months.

“It’s also in a prime location in the middle of town.”

The refurbishment is expected to take about six months.

Mark Leigh, a local DJ and painter and decorator, will help with the work.

Heineken closed the pub after a former licensee decided to concentrate on running their other pub.

The pub was put up for lease on October 22, and later put up for sale.

The brewery firm Marston’s, which owns Cockermouth brewer Jennings, has helped to finance the project.

The pub was originally called the Henry Curwen, but in 1999 Scottish and Newcastle Breweries revamped the property and called it Ye Olde Sportsman. After about two years a subsequent landlord renamed it the Curwen Arms.

Records show the building first gained the Curwen name in 1829, as the Curwen’s Arms, although a building had been there since 1793.

The pub was named after Sir Henry Curwen, who was nicknamed Galloping Harry because of his interest in horse racing and breeding.

A Jacobite rebel, Sir Henry, who was extremely wealthy, had a long-running feud with his family and was found murdered in 1725.

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