New manager hoping to restore historic pub to former glory (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Horse and Well in High Road, Woodford Green under new management
The new man in charge of one of Woodford Green’s best known pubs has promised to restore it to its former glory.
Jim Hayward, 34, secured a 25 year lease on the Horse and Well in High Road last December after taking voluntary redundancy from his job as an insurance underwriter.
His first move was to bring back popular general manager, Stuart Gillepsie, who managed the pub for 10 years before leaving in 2008.
The pub will be refurbished later this month with new floors and restoration work on the bar and furniture.
And Mr Hayward, who lives in nearby Whitehall Road, says the decision to show live sport in the bar is already pulling in the punters.
He said: “For whatever reason, the trade has been down in the last few years.
“I have always loved this place and would like to get it buzzing again.
“My family tried to buy it a couple of years ago, so when I found out there was a chance of getting the lease I jumped at it.”
The Horse and Well has been in business for almost 300 years. Plans to build flats on top of it which were granted permission last year caused a storm of protest among local people.
Mr Hayward said: “It is a historic pub and taking it over is a big responsibility.
“Whoever you speak to – cabbies or business people – they all know about the Horse and Well.
“I can’t speak about the plans to build flats because I don’t own it, but I don’t believe the owners are going to be doing anything imminently.”
“I just want to concentrate on the pub and bringing it back to what it was. Having Stuart back is already making a big difference.”
Mr Gillespie, 45, has returned to the flat above the pub and says he is enjoying being back behind the bar.
He said: “Two of my children were born here so I’m very attached to the place.
“We’re already doing a lot better and a lot of the old faces are returning.
“I feel like I have come home really.”
The pub will be closed for refurbishment from January 28-January 30.
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