Famous Essex pub reopens following four-month renovation

The Bluebell Inn in Hempstead, which has reopened following renovation

The Bluebell Inn in Hempstead, which has reopened following renovation

Archant

An Essex village pub, famously the birthplace of highwayman Dick Turpin, has reopened under new ownership following an extensive renovation.

Saffron Brewery's James Hoskins pulls the first pint at the Bluebell Inn's reopeningSaffron Brewery's James Hoskins pulls the first pint at the Bluebell Inn's reopening

The Bluebell Inn, in Hempstead, which closed down in February 2015, opened its doors on Friday, April 15, at 5pm after a four-month overhaul.

The team from Henham-based Saffron Brewery are behind the lease-hold venture, and the pub will stock the brewery’s range of cask ales on tap, as well as serving food.

Dick turpin was reputedly born at the pub in 1705 and the spyhole he used as a child to watch customers still exists inside the building, which is believed to have been built in the late 15th century.

First customer Julian McCarthy, 47, who lives in the village, said: “I’m very pleased. It’s been a very long, dry wait since it closed last year.

First customer Julian McCarthy samples a Saffron Brewery ale at the Bluebell InnFirst customer Julian McCarthy samples a Saffron Brewery ale at the Bluebell Inn

“When we heard Saffron Brewery were taking over and supplying the beer, we were really excited about being able to try some of their ales. It’s a nice rural pub, and that’s what people want.”

Speaking to the Reporter at the opening, James Hoskins, 38, of Saffron Brewery, said: “It’s been a frantic afternoon trying to get everything in order for 5pm, but I’m a lot more excited now we’ve opened the doors.

“This is our second venture after the St. Radegund in Cambridge, and we’ll be stocking a wide variety of our ales here. Lisa Swan will be the bar manager and John Dillo is our chef.

“It’s been a long renovation process, but we’re excited to able to start serving customers.”

Work on the pub began in mid-January this year with a complete overhaul of the kitchen, electrics, flooring, heating and lighting.

The team are also hoping to extend the kitchen, pending planning approval.

For more information see www.saffronbrewery.co.uk or www.thebluebell1nn.co.uk

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