Once proud pub seeks new life

The Hulme Arms at Torksey G120414-3
The Hulme Arms at Torksey G120414-3

RENOVATIONS are under way at the Hume Arms in Torksey to try and tempt a new landlord back behind the bar.

The once proud pub, on Main Street, has been boarded up for weeks since the most recent tenants moved out.

It has been a shock to villagers who had been happy to see the place thriving and seeming to do well.

“The family who had it were brilliant and they had got the place looking lovely,” said Janet Reaney, who runs the village Post Office.

“You could not have got a nicer Sunday carvery anywhere. You had to book a table because it was heaving.”

But Janet said the pub had struggled to get the same support during the week.

“It’s the same as anywhere. Rental prices and brewery contracts are forcing pubs out of business,” she said.

“We were just so shocked when it closed. We felt like Torksey was on the up, with a new coffee shop, village shop and a brilliant local pub.”

It is thought Brian and Eileen Moffat, the previous landlords, have moved on to run the Stag’s Head at Newport near Lincoln.

Brian is a trained chef with more than 30 years experience. And his culinary creations certainly impressed customers and critics alike.

A year after taking it over, in 2010 the couple went to London to receive a best newcomer award for the East and West Midlands region in the British Pub awards.

And the Gainsborough Standard gave the restaurant a glowing five star review for its fantastic food and friendly atmosphere.

And Enterprise Inns, which leased the Hume Arms to the Moffats, is now making some improvements to the pub to try and attract a new tenant.

A contractor working on the site told the Standard that a new kitchen and carvery suite was being installed, along with a number of aesthetic improvements.

The brewery is advertising the Hume Arms to let at a guide price of £35,000 per year.

They describe it as a large pub and restaurant with ‘huge potential’ for large events such as weddings and parties.

Their website reads: “There is a need to attract these as well as diners from the surrounding areas in order for the business to thrive.”

Gainsborough Standard reader Pauline Codd suggested the only way for a pub to ‘fight back’ was to hold special events.

“Buy short dated cheaper stock and pass on the savings to the punters. Hold events and sell good priced chunky food as well,” she said.

“There’s not a lot of money about and there’s gong to be less. If you can entice people back to the pubs, the electric bill will go down for all of us.”

“I somehow think, and its a shame, the death knoll for pubs has been on silent emission for about ten years - now it’s very audible.”

But Karl Thomson, chairman of Gainsborough and District Campaign For Real Ale, disagreed, saying local pubs were bucking the trend.

“The Ropery was closed for a long while and has now re-opened and is selling real ale,” he said.

“And the Horse and Jockey has also fought back after closure and we believe they are looking to sell real ale too.”

“Apart from the White Hart, Gainsborough’s pubs aren’t doing too badly compared to other areas.”

Back in Torksey, Janet Reaney said villagers would be glad to see someone bring the Hume Arms back to life.

“If anyone could make a big old building like that pay, it would be really nice,” she said.