The owner of a two hundred year-old pub is seeking to "return it to its former glory" following an extensive refurbishment. 

Dating back to the mid 19th century, the Royal Oak pub in Hale End Road, Highams Park has become the latest restoration project for the Irish pub company, Tommy Flynn's.  

It re-opened to the public on August 7 following a three-month closure with much of its original features restored and displayed for the first time in a generation. 

Publican Gerry Flynn, 27, hopes to re-establish the 'local feel' by making it family-orientated and serving food for the first time in over two decades. 

The original Oakwood flooring and beams have been stripped back, a hidden fire place has been opened up and restored, and artefacts found behind a bar and in the cellar during building work are now displayed in a glass cabinet. 

Each wall bears a black and white photo of places within Waltham Forest and Woodford Green, all of the tables were made on-site and many of the feature walls have been built using reclaimed bricks. 

Mr Flynn, a carpenter by trade, said: "It was a family pub until 20 years ago and then it all went a bit downhill. 

"This pub has a fantastic history and needed to be brought back to its former glory. 

"It was a bit tired and in need of major investment so we thought long and hard as to what we thought would work and decided Highams Park was lacking a food area. 

"Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk - the pub didn't serve food before so we were starting from nothing but we're confident it will work."

All of the meat and vegetable produce has been sourced locally from Shaws Butchers in Station Road, Chingford.   

Historically, the pub was tailored for watching football and other sports and its reputation suffered. 

Father-of-one Mark Wells, 31, of Chingford, said he was impressed by the 'new Oak'. 

He said: "They've upgraded it big time. In the last ten years, I came here maybe three times, in the last two weeks; I've been here ten times. 

"I would never have brought my boy here in a million years, it was full of football hooligans and drug users but that's all changed now.

"I would gladly bring my family here and with what space they've got for children, they've made good use of."    

It was rebuilt in 1906 and replaced a cottage-like 'beer house' built in the early 1800s and named The Royal Oak. 

Bartender Bobby Dennis, 23, of Chelmsford Road in South Woodford, said the pub is now attracting new customers. 

"It was always a very local pub and didn't get many outsiders wanting to come in but this new look is what the area needed. I love working here and we’ve had a great reception from the public," Mr Dennis said.