Royal Oak kitted out with new outdoor heated beer garden and open-plan family dining seating area

Century-old pub transformed under new ownership

Century-old pub transformed under new ownership

The new beer garden with wooden decking, outdoor heating and a large plasma screen

First published in Business News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

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.

Comments (9)

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9:05am Wed 20 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green?

They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that.
Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green? They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -16

9:45am Wed 20 Aug 14

MorrisHickey says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green?

They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that.
hat's your own fault for going 200 years ago.
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green? They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that.[/p][/quote]hat's your own fault for going 200 years ago. MorrisHickey
  • Score: 18

11:02am Wed 20 Aug 14

terrycollmann says...

Make your minds up - is it a century -old pub, 200 years old, dating from the mid-19th century or the early 1800s?
Make your minds up - is it a century -old pub, 200 years old, dating from the mid-19th century or the early 1800s? terrycollmann
  • Score: 7

11:31am Wed 20 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

MorrisHickey wrote:
Villagecranberry wrote:
Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green?

They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that.
hat's your own fault for going 200 years ago.
I doth my hat to you Sir.
[quote][p][bold]MorrisHickey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: Sounds good but why do they want stuff from Woodford Green? They should be pushing Highams Park 'then and now'. As regards the food, I went to their cafe there that they set up and had the worse breakfast ever. I hope it has improved beyond that.[/p][/quote]hat's your own fault for going 200 years ago.[/p][/quote]I doth my hat to you Sir. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -6

3:00pm Wed 20 Aug 14

jonny mash says...

Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich
Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich jonny mash
  • Score: -12

3:13pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Villagecranberry says...

jonny mash wrote:
Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich
If you mean Roger the owner he hasn't got any hair so where did that come from?
[quote][p][bold]jonny mash[/bold] wrote: Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich[/p][/quote]If you mean Roger the owner he hasn't got any hair so where did that come from? Villagecranberry
  • Score: -16

5:43pm Wed 20 Aug 14

jonny mash says...

Villagecranberry wrote:
jonny mash wrote:
Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich
If you mean Roger the owner he hasn't got any hair so where did that come from?
Not sure really. I've heard that they quite like cats so maybe it belonged to a stray moggy
[quote][p][bold]Villagecranberry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jonny mash[/bold] wrote: Good luck to them. I've been to the Leytonstone Village branch of Mickey O'McFlanagans and very agreeable it is too, not as much fun as the Sheepwalk used to be but times change. They said "Serving good honest home-cooked meals was a massive risk" which reminds me of the time I was in the Nag's Head in Walthamstow Village and one of Roger's stray hairs fell in my Bacon Jam sandwich[/p][/quote]If you mean Roger the owner he hasn't got any hair so where did that come from?[/p][/quote]Not sure really. I've heard that they quite like cats so maybe it belonged to a stray moggy jonny mash
  • Score: -15

9:58pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Arsenal red says...

Went tonight with family including grandchildren food very good staff very polite some still learning . Much needed decent pub lets support it and use it before WE LOSE IT In proving the area for the better
Went tonight with family including grandchildren food very good staff very polite some still learning . Much needed decent pub lets support it and use it before WE LOSE IT In proving the area for the better Arsenal red
  • Score: 13

11:21pm Wed 20 Aug 14

silent.eyes says...

Shame they don't have an adult only policy in the evening. Our meal Sunday night was spoilt by parents allowing their children to run around the dining area, shouting at each other.
Shame they don't have an adult only policy in the evening. Our meal Sunday night was spoilt by parents allowing their children to run around the dining area, shouting at each other. silent.eyes
  • Score: 8

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