The Bass House in Alma Road, Hatherley, opened its doors on 16th December 1978. It was built as a one-bar pub and as its name implied it was tied to Bass Charrington Brewery. It usually sold Draught Bass and Worthington Bitter (later Worthington Draught) on handpump.
In the late 1980’s and 1990’s the pub regularly won prizes in the Cheltenham in Bloom competition for its wonderful floral displays.
‘Dry January’ is an established social trend these days following the Christmas and the New Year festivities of over-indulgence. In 2005 the current social-media frenzy was unheard of and it made headlines in the local newspaper when drinkers at the Bass House voluntarily gave up drinking their favourite tipple for just two-weeks. After a drinking excessively in the festive season several locals took the pledge to stay sober and raise money for the Macmillian Nurses charity. Pub regulars paid £5 a day to abstain and £600 was raised. However, only one person succeeded in staying dry for the duration – the landlady’s husband Denis Burns.
In August 2005 residents living near the Bass House were not impressed when an application was submitted to extend the closing time until 12.30 am. The Wallace House sheltered housing complex, opposite the pub in Windermere Road, complained that their residents’ quality of life would suffer from excessive noise, anti-social behaviour and disturb them from their sleep. A spokeswoman for pub chain Mitchell & Butlers said: “We would take all reasonably practicable steps to minimise disturbance to the community.”
A temporary manager was accosted at knifepoint in July 2006 when a man wearing a balaclava broke into the Bass House and stole £1,000 in cash from the pubs safe. The stand-in manager, who had only been at the Bass House for a fortnight at the time of the incident, was repeatedly assaulted and had the knife blade held to his throat. With true British stoicism he said: “It wasn’t the most trouble I’ve ever experienced as a pub manager, but it wasn’t pleasant.”
In November 2006 developer Lanmarque Sites submitted plans to demolish the Bass House and build 14 homes on the site. A spokesman for the developer said: “The homes will have a positive impact on the image and revitalisation of the area”, adding “The site will be better put to use as a residential development, which will create a unified street scene and serve to lift the area.” The Cheltenham Civic Society reacted with the comment: “The development will add nothing to the neighbourhood and little thought has been given to the landscaping. The proposal is very poorly planned and serves only to illustrate that too many units are being squeezed onto the site. We strongly recommend refusal.”
But a spokesman for Mitchell & Butlers, owner of the Bass House, confirmed in February 2007 that they were in the process of selling the pub: “Our staff have been briefed on the sale and the pub will close in early March.” A local drinker at the Bass House said: “It’s a good old-fashioned pub, there’s not many of them left. It will be sadly missed. It’s a good local.”
The Bass House served the local community for over 28 years. Despite objections the Bass House called ‘last orders’ for the final time on 9th March 2007 and demolition finally came on Thursday 19th April. Houses have since been built on the site.
1993 Rob and Janie Tucker
2005 Annette Burns
2006 Mike Barton