Work will begin at the Anchor Inn in Tideswell on January 10, with the £260,000 transformation plan sparked by the need to replace outdated electrics. If all goes according to plan, it should reopen by the end of March.
Rick Ellison, 37, who runs the pub on behalf of Robinsons brewery, said: “The pub was covered in wood panelling in 1953 by a farmer who owned it at the time and it hasn’t been touched since, so the wiring behind it dates back to the 1940s.
“With quality materials in short supply after the Second World War, the panelling is very flimsy so there’s no way it can go back on. Instead, we’re hoping to restore as many of the original features as possible. The pub has had a licence since 1699 so we have to respect that heritage.”
He added: “We’ve done some rough designs but we really have no idea what we’re going to find behind the wood. I’m hoping it will reveal fireplaces, stonework, beams, and maybe even a cellar.
“The late Peter Robinson, the chairman of the brewery, came to visit a few years ago and he remembered buying it in 1964, but he didn’t know how it looked originally. I don’t know if there’s anyone left who would have seen it as it was.”
Rick is personally taking charge of the fixtures and fittings to reflect the building’s history as best he can, but there will also be some modern modifications.
He said: “There will be a new kitchen, extended dining room fire escape, disabled toilets and a better flow through the rooms. I want it to be as traditional as possible but it will be easier to work with.”
Following a season of Christmas events including lunch on the day itself, regulars can get a final glimpse of the old Anchor with a party on Friday, January 7, featuring music and a buffet.
Rick said: “I think people will want to come and see it before it changes. The pub has been a big part of people’s lives for a very long time.”