Pub threatened with closure has been saved

Safe Hands: Landlady Maggie Senior, with Hope & Anchor bar manager David Papworth.
Safe Hands: Landlady Maggie Senior, with Hope & Anchor bar manager David Papworth.

A pub threatened with closure has been saved, with help from a landlady who recently helped prevent her own Pontefract watering hole from shutting.

Regulars feared The Hope & Anchor on North Baileygate would shut last year when the brewery chose to put the business up for sale.

Following a period of uncertainty, it now looks to have a much brighter future after Maggie Senior became the new licensee.

Mrs Senior is also the landlady of the Railway Inn on Mill Dam Lane which looked to be shutting last year before it was secured as an asset of community value (ACV), protecting it from development.

Mrs Senior explained: “The Hope & Anchor was going to be our plan B if we were forced to shut the Railway, but when it was saved it was a very difficult decision on what we should do. We didn’t want any other pub going down, although I’m sure someone would have taken it on anyway.

“It’s been very hard work but it’s going well. We’ve put a manager in there but we still have to be there.”

A pub has been open on the site for more than 200 years, and when Punch Taverns announced they were looking to sell the pub last year an online petition to save the business collected in more than 850 names.

It sits just metres away from the town’s medieval castle and is part of the Pontefract Castle conservation area, drawn up by Wakefield Council in 2010.

According to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) pub guide website ‘What Pub?’, the building was originally a house, and was first converted into a pub in 1805.

It is believed to be the first pub outside Knottingley to be run by Carters Knottingley Brewery Company.

Formerly known as Tinkler’s Stone Inn, it was rebuilt in 1892 by Pontefract architect J.H. Greaves.

Mrs Senior says the building has undergone a major refurbishment and is already starting to attract first-time customers.

“The place has been gutted and it’s taken two or three months to get it right,” she said.

“There’s no pool table or bandit, it’s very upmarket.

“It’s very different clientele compared to the Railway but there’s a lot new faces that we have not seen before, which is good.”