The Flying Machine, on the corner of Green Street and Ermin Street, was demolished in June 1998. A residential development called Pound Farm Courtyard now occupies the site.

Courtesy Michael Wilkes

The Citizen: Monday 17th June, 1985 – A double disaster – Pub manager Mr Derek Rickards flew home from a Tunisian holiday at the weekend, to be greeted with the news of a double disaster. He was told at the airport about last week’s £50,000 fire that destroyed a skittle alley and bar at the popular Flying Machine pub in Brockworth. And he learned on his arrival at Brockworth about the weekend burglary at the damaged pub where raiders escaped with well over £1,000 cash from a safe. “To say I am shocked is an understatement. I knew nothing of the fire until I reached the airport because the brewery did not want to spoil my holiday,” said Mr Rickards. Whitbread, owners of the pub, were arranging for the burnt-out bar to be rebuilt when they received reports of the burglary which happened on Friday night. Mr Rickards says that despite the damage business will continue as usual in a bar that was unaffected and by using the pub gardens.

Advertisement Feature. Citizen. 16th December 1985. Snooker star re-opens pub. It promises to be a high-flying event when top snooker star Rex Williams officially re-opens a prestige Gloucester pub tomorrow. For the popular Flying Machine in Brockworth has undergone major re-development work. The pub hit the headlines in August when fire swept through the Whitbread house. Though the relief manager and his wife escaped unhurt, the blaze gutted the public bar. Whitbread Severn Inns have invested a massive £150,000 rebuilding and revamping the pub, transforming the Flying Machine into a first-rate luxury venue. Although the pub has opened in stages, new managers Kevin and Susan Duke will be joined by Rex Williams and Whitbread Severn Inns Director and General Manager Mike Peacock at the official re-opening celebrations. Rex Williams, a world ranked professional snooker player, the 15 times World Billiards Champion and now a BBC sports commentator, has been invited to pull the first pint. Boasting a Games Lounge with a full-sized snooker table, two pool tables and two dart throws, the contemporary bar features luxurious fittings and fixtures and prints and photographs depicting an aviation theme. And the sophisticated lounge bar, with the latest sound and light system has a traditional décor with a feature fireplace, plants and mirror ball for special lighting effects. The Dukes, who serve bar snacks, will offer cocktails and a wide range of Whitbread beers and lagers.

I wrote to the Citizen newspaper about the sad state of affairs at the Flying Machine and it was published in the letters column on August 12th 1997:

Unhappy landing for once fine pub – Dear Sir, I have just witnessed a slow and painful death in Brockworth. I refer to the closure of the Flying Machine public house which over the years has been deprived of financial investment and T.L.C. It now stands forlorn, vandalised and derelict. A notice of planning application has now been attached to the empty premises seeking demolition and replacement by housing. When the old Pound Farm was converted to a new public house in the early 1950’s by the Cheltenham brewery it was immediately successful and successive landlords built on its fine reputation. In the 1950’s and early 1960’s the extensive car park was often full. Contemporary advertisements of this time made reference to its popular cabaret nights and the fine condition of its West Country Ales. The public bar of the Flying Machine was a hive of activity with many traditional pub games being played. Then came the imposed regime of keg beer and loud electronic music. The traditional based pub, according to pub designers, no longer had any relevance. The interior of the Gloucester Flying Machine was gutted to form a vast characterless shrine to the disco revolution. In one fell swoop the pub designers had alienated its faithful clientele. The youth set had a trend-setting pub while the old regulars were evicted to a quieter existence of beer and crisps at home in front of the television. The disco revolution was shortlived. The young drinkers of the Flying Machine were enticed into the city centre where there was now a more vibrant night life and the pub was now in terminal decline. It had lost both its traditional residential trade and also the younger drinking set. It was at this point, perhaps in the early 1980’s, that Whitbread should have carefully evaluated the potential of the Flying Machine. With a little foresight it could have been revamped into its true identity as a family orientated estate pub. Instead it was allowed to slowly die. The beer garden became overgrown, children’s swings left rusting, litter strewn about the place and the nearly empty car park became an improvised teenage roller skating circuit. In these circumstances the preferred option was closure, and late last month the Flying Machine finally died. But has the pub been killed? Has there been any attempt to offer the premises as a going concern to regional breweries who might see the potential to expand their own tied estate with a potentially lucrative pub? The Flying Machine is a fine old farmhouse. Every effort should be made to preserve the building and, with suitable commitment and investment, it could once again be a popular pub for the locals of Brockworth. Houses can be built anywhere, but when a pub is de-licensed it is lost forever.”

The standing pub sign bracket is all that remains of the Flying Machine

This page will be updated with additional information and new images.

Landlords:

1957 D.J.E. Townsend

1974 Christine Glanvill

1985 Kevin and Susan Duke

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