The Gardeners Rest was built for the Stroud Brewery by architects H.R. Robinson for the Cashes Green housing estate and opened on 15th August 1956. It was one of the last new build pubs to be commissioned by the Stroud Brewery. The pub was named in honour of the hard working gardeners of the adjoining housing estate who could ‘rest’ at their local. Genuine garden tools adorned the entrance to the pub.
In the 1960’s the Gardeners Rest had a successful darts team. The Stroud Darts League Knockout competition, held at Stroud Subscription Rooms, was won by the Gardeners Rest. The Gardeners Rest passed from Stroud Brewery ownership into the newly formed West Country Breweries in 1958 and subsequently became a Whitbread tied house. It was acquired by Wiltshire brewers, Wadworth & Co. of Devizes. In May 2006 Wadworth Brewery sold the pub to property developers who applied for planning permission for the building to be turned into four flats and three bungalows.
The Citizen, 28th October 1980 – Pub profile by Robin Haine. ‘Gardeners’ Rest, the ‘perfect pub’: Dustman Doug Twissell really digs the Gardener’s Rest at Cashes Green, Stroud. “It’s the friendliest pub I know,” said Doug, reckoned to be one of the fastest drinkers around. Said landlord Dave Bence, “He can down a pint quicker than I can light a cigarette – no trouble at all. It’s straight down. By the time I’ve rung up the price on the till his glass is empty.”
Modest Doug, aged 50, lives in nearby Hillcrest Road. He said, “I’ve never timed myself but it’s a thirsty job on the bins.”
The pub, at the junction of Harper Road and Queens Drive, Cashes Green, was the last to be opened by the old Stroud Brewery. The year was 1956 and its name was suggested by Mr Tom Alder who now runs a busy newsagents in nearby Cainscross. “At the time I was a cashier with the brewery and lived in Harper Road. Everyone was mad keen on gardening and the name seemed an obvious choice,” he said.
Retired legal clerk Mr George Mason (66), of Moseley Road, Cashes Green, was the first customer when the doors were opened. “I had four buckshee pints very quickly and have used the pub ever since,” said George, chairman of Stroud Crib League for the past 20 years.
Dave, the popular landlord, is a vice-chairman of Stroud and District Licensed Victuallers Association. his wife, Shirley is vice-chairman of the local Ladies’ Licensed Trade Auxiliary. “We moved in on Friday 13th, but have never lived to regret the day,” said Dave (50), a former semi-professional with Bristol Rovers. He quit his promising career as an insurance manager to enter the licensed trade and previously kept the Kings Head, Kingscourt. “I used to help my sister in her pub at Malmesbury and decided it was the life for me,” he said.
The Gardeners’ Rest fields three darts teams, a domino, quoits and crib side. It’s also the headquarters of Cashes Green Football Club. Dave is in charge of fund raising. Through the combined efforts of soccer players and customers around £2,000, half for local charity, has been raised in just three years. This year, the pub domino team captured the Dursley League title for the second time in four years. George’s son Rob (30), a company director, and water board official Mike Stapleton (38) are West Region champions.
Next to dart, dominoes is the second most popular game in the country. “It’s lost the old man’s tag and you have to use your brains,” said Rob.
The last word came from George, the first customer, who said, “It’s the perfect pub. My grandson is only three months old and I can’t wait to bring him in for a pint.”
The Citizen, Wednesday, February 10th 1982 – Five Valley Talk – Dave and Shirley are the landlords’ toast: Licensee Dave Bence and his wife Shirley are the toast of Stroud’s landlords. The couple, who run the Gardeners Rest pub at Cashes Green, have made history in the local licensed trade with a double first.
Not only has Dave taken over as chairman of the local branch of the Licensed Victuallers Association, but Shirley chairs the district Ladies Licensed Trade Auxiliary. “It’s a great honour,” said Dave. “This is the first time that a man and wife from the same pub in the district have held both top positions.”
The Stroud LVA branch has a membership of more than 70 licensees and apart from looking after the interests of publicans regularly raises considerable sums for charity.
Dave takes over from retiring chairman, Terry Shortall.
The Citizen, 31st May 1983 – £1,000 barrow race target: Soccer players at Cashes Green, Stroud, yesterday joined in a Bank Holiday wheelbarrow race – for kicks! Customers of the Gardener’s Rest pub also took part in the fancy dress run over a one-and-a-half mile circuit through local housing estates. Landlord Mr Dave Bence, vice-chairman of Cashes Green AFC and a former semi-professional with Bristol Rovers, said: “If all our sponsors cough up, we hope to raise about £1,000.” The money will be shared by Selsley Vicarage, a community home for the mentally handicapped and the football club at Cashes Green.
Stroud News & Journal, 10th Match 1999 – Out to raise more charity cash: A Stroud pub’s contribution to the community has been recognised by a national awards scheme. The Gardeners’ Rest in Cashes Green has been nominated for the award for its outstanding service to the community and charity work. The Harper Road pub has been run by Bob and Pat Jones for nearly seven years and during that time they, their staff and supporters have continually raised funds for local causes.
The awards scheme is run by the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association. As well as the prestige of gaining such recognition, the winner can expect a cheque for £10,000, made out to the charity of their choice. Landlady Pat Jones is currently in training for her latest fund-raising project – she is planning to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Pat’s been doing a lot of sponsored bike rides, which will build up her stamina and keep the money coming in,” said husband Bob. “She works out at the gym several times a week and has been doing a lot of walking. I’s quite hilly around here so that’s good practice.”
Pat and the others involved in the project will be helping to support the Cotswold Care Hospice, which must raise at least £30,000 a month to sustain its services.
Stroud News & Journal, 11th August 2003 – Bounce into battle: Bouncy castle battles will be just one of the attractions when a Stroud pub holds a charity fun day this month. The Gardener’s Rest, Cashes Green, is holding the event all day on Saturday, August 23, to raise money for the Cobalt Unit appeal Fund’s Crack Cancer Campaign. The day will feature the bouncy castle with gladiator poles, barbeque, family bingo and evening quiz. Entrance is free, and music will be provided throughout the day.
‘Evening out for all the family’ – 3rd March 2004: Danny and Nikki Witcombe have transformed the Gardeners Rest since their arrival eight months ago. Rugby fan Danny, who spent 12 years with the Royal Marines, and wife, Nikki, moved to Cashes Green from Leicester and instantly gained a rapport with the local community. The Gardeners Rest accommodates teams for skittles, darts, crib and pool and sponsors the Cashes Green senior football team who can be found enjoying the post match hospitality each Saturday.
Sky television provides coverage of major sporting events and every England rugby or football match is accompanied by free food at half time. Pool is also free every Tuesday night. Refurbishment of the garden, kitchen, function room, lounge and bar has restored the pub into an inviting family venue and ideal retreat for eating out.
The lounge has been converted to a restaurant with its own bar and serves food from around the world every Friday night and delicious roast lunches on Sunday (bookings to be made in advance). The skittle alley room or the lounge area is ideal for private parties and events.
As the evenings begin to get longer, the Gardeners Rest is an ideal place to visit and sample the great atmosphere created by its new tenants.
Stroud News & Journal, 30th May 2006 – Battle to save local pub: (by Liz Weaver) A community is fighting to save its local pub after brewery bosses sold it to property developers. The Gardeners’ Rest in Queens Drive, Cashes Green was built as part of the estate in 1954 to provide a community facility. But now the Wadworth brewery has sold it to London-based Chadbury Homes, which is waiting for planning permission to transform the building into four flats and three bungalows.
However, residents are hoping that if there is enough opposition to the application, district planners could be persuaded to ensure it remains a pub. Tom Williams, district councillor for Cainscross, is pushing for the planning application to be put before development control. “The decision should be made by councillors, not just officers,” he said. “There are very few community facilities left in Cashes Green and to take away this pub would be a huge loss to residents. For the last 18 months the pub didn’t even sell food, so if the brewery is saying people weren’t going they only have themselves to blame.”
But Jonathan Pollock, spokesman for Wadworth Brewery, said the business was no longer viable. “We are in business of trying to expand and not close our pubs,” he said. “But it simply wasn’t used enough and we had to do something about it.”
Map Reference: SO 832057
Owner in 1956: Stroud Brewery
Owners in 1990: Wadworth & Co., Devizes
Landlords at the Gardeners’ Rest include:
1956 Eric Tuckwell
1960’s John Palmer
1980,1982 Dave and Shirley Bence
1993,1999 Bob and Pat Jones
2001 Rebecca Potter (manager), Ian and Becky
2003 Danny and Nikki Witcombe