There is a road that runs to the west of the village called the Old Neighbourhood.

Records show that the Mechanics was trading in 1856. The pub was a run of the mill Whitbread tied house but was sold as a free house and, after sensitive refurbishment, became the Old Neighbourhood Inn in December 1992. Dave Hicks was enthusiastic about real ales and the Old Neighbourhood soon gained a reputation countywide for its wonderful selection of beers.

Gloucestershire Chronicle, Saturday 21st October 1882. Petty Sessions: Oliver Crook, landlord of the Mechanics Arms, Chalford, was summoned for assaulting James Phelps on Saturday night. Mr E. Smith appeared for Phelps, who deposed that he went to the house quite sober and called for a pint of beer. Defendant refused to supply him, and he called for a bottle of gingerade, which was also refused. He was talking to a person when the landlord forcibly ejected him, and his clothes were torn. Two or three witnesess stated they believed Phelps to be sober. The bench held the assault to be proved, but they complimented the landlord on his conduct of his house and his desire to keep order. He was fined 2s.6d. and 13s. costs.

Gloucester Citizen, Friday 31st December 1886 – Serious Charge Against a Chalford Man: A serious affray at the Mechanics Arms Inn, Chalford Hill, on Boxing Night, has resulted in the apprehension of Ephraim Davis, quarryman, on the charge of unlawfully wounding Samuel Goodship, 72 years of age, with intent to do him bodily injury, while the more serious charge of manslaughter may be said to be hanging over him, as Goodship is not expected to live. Without prejudice to the hearing of the case we may just state that Davis and Goodship were included in a party gathered together in the Mechanics Arms. An old grievance concerning a woman being referred to, the man Goodship left his seat and gave Davis a smack in the face. A tussle between the two men followed, and they both fell down at the side of the settle. They got up, fought again, and fell again. The landlord, Thomas Hawkins, then interfered and took Goodship to the back door of the inn and sent him to his home, which is near. In the morning Goodship was found under his bed in a nude state and with many bruises on him, and there is a supposition thar he had fits and fell out of bed. Prisoner was charged at the Police Station this (Thursday) morning. Prisoner had a black eye, and during P.C. Taylor’s evidence he wept. The magistrates told prisoner Goodship was in a serious condition and would very probably die, in which case thr matter must be further inquiries.

Stroud News & Journal, 2nd July 1997 – Advertisement. ‘New landlords, same friendly local’: Regulars will be pleased to hear that despite the Old Neighbourhood Pub in Chalford coming under new landlords their local will stay with the mix of friendly surroundings and good service that has made it so popular. Nick Walls and Sue Wainwright took over the pub eleven weeks ago, and Nick says he plans to keep the atmosphere as it is – that of a typical village pub.

The Old Neighbourhood has a beer garden and children are welcomed to the ample play area. All the food on the tempting menu is home cooked by Sue, who is a qualified chef. The speciality of the house is pies – steak, stout and mushroom traditional cottage pie being two of the punters’ favourites. Sue will also add a special pie to the menu each week – which is sure to be popular. Sundays will be a good time to visit the 60 seat dining room wen Sue will be preparing her four-course Sunday lunch. All the menu is reasonably priced and offers excellent value for money.

The bar stocks a cracking selection of ales including Archers, Tetleys and 6X, plus all the favourite lagers such as Heineken and Stella Artois. The pub takes part in the local summer pool league and Nick and Sue plan to organise a monthly competition. Other attractions in the pipleline are a monthly quiz night. An upstairs part of the restaurant will also be available to hire out for small functions.

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 17th June 1998 – Punters petition for pub: Pub punters in danger of losing their landlords have threatened to drink elsewhere if owners do not reconsider a price hike. Locals at the Old Neighbourhood Inn, Chalford Hill, collected more than 180 names on a petition to persuade Enterprise Inns not to raise the lease. Nick Walls (29) and Sue Wainwright (29) moved into the Old Neighbourhood last April and are very popular with locals. But their temporary lease ends this month and they cannot afford an extra £6,000 to secure the contract. An angry Mr Walls said: “£6,000 is a lot of money for us but to a big company like Enterprise Inns it is peanuts.”

The extra cost has been incurred because ornaments, paintings and furnishings have been added to the lease. A new landlord is understood to have come forward with financial backing to secure the new lease and is due to take over on 1st July. The petition claims the popularity of the pub is at an all time high, with Nick and Sue drawing back locals who had drifted away. It states: “We should like to point out to Enterprise Inns that we, the local community, would like to see our pub headed by Nick and Sue, also to remind them that this unpopular move could have an adverse effect on support of The Old Neighbourhood Inn as we control perhaps 80 per cent of the turnover.”

John Weldon of Enterprise Inns said the current landlords were operating on a temporary agreement pending permanent letting and added: “We take the views of locals into consideration but there are certain requirements of the lease which have to be met.”

Stroud News & Journal, 16th September 1998 – New faces at pub’s pumps: Two former pupils of Marling School have taken charge of the pumps at the Old Neighbourhood Pub in Chalford Hill. Andy Woolmer and Mansell Brown (both 28) took over as landlords at the beginning of July. They have spent the last two months finding their feet in the difficult world of pub business and introducing new beers, food and management systems. Chef Richard Wilson has also been added to the team to manage the pub’s grub. He trained at the prestigious Queen’s Hotel in Cheltenham and has created a mouthwatering, yet reasonably priced, menu comprising of everything from filled baguettes to stuffed Cockleford trout. Nearly every item on the menu is prepared fresh on the premises and the new bosses have made sure most of the kitchen fare originates from the local area including bread, vegetables and meat.

Drinkers can chose from a comprehensve wine list, and a draught list of four real ales, two cream beers, two stouts, two lagers and hand-pulled cider. The lads are keen to throw open their doors to the public welcoming both dogs and children to the bar areas. Already they have been booked by local groups for a meeting place as well as becoming the venue for a local auction this week.

“We haven’t said anything about taking over so far because we have been working really hard getting the pub just how we want it. Now we want to welcome the community in. People can use it for exactly what they want – there’s a big car park, kids’ play area, nice garden – it’s perfect. A solid country pub,” explained Andy. Mansell Brown has previous bar management experience working at the Black Horse in Amberley.

Advertisement – July 1999. The family pub that’s a must this summer: Lancashire couple John and Geri Croxford took over the Old Neighbourhood Inn in May. Along with their two sons, one of whom is a chef, they have great plans for this charming Cotswold pub. Their aim is to have a friendly family run business with a commitment to excellent home-made food and great service. They have plans for monthly live entertainment and on the August Bank Holiday they have organised a Charity Tug-of-War to raise money for their local school. Geri prides herself on her home-cooked food.

Stroud News & Journal. ‘Tune in to village pub musical event’: The Old Neighbourhood Inn on Chalford Hill opens the Chalford Unplugged show for a second time this bank holiday weekend. Packed full of live music and dancing, the show features The Secret Police, German band Writing The Element and much more. Chalford Unplugged kicks off on Saturday 28th August 2004 between 1pm and 11pm.

Stroud News & Journal, 27th November 2013 – Old Neighbourhood puts on a new face, but still serves classic food (advertisement): Nick, Sarah and family welcome you to the new and improved Old Neighbourhood Inn. Our new food menu is now being served in our restaurant, offering a selection of traditional British meals as well as some modern classics. Our lunch menu is served from Monday to Saturday betwee the hours of 12pm and 2pm and our dinner menu is served on the same days between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. On Sundays we serve a tasty, traditional roast dinner available as a main course for £8.95, two courses for £11.95 or a full three course meal for only £13.95. We also serve daily meals from our specials board, call or visit us today to find out what’s on offer.

The Citizen, 10th April 2013 – Penny for your pint: A pub is raising a glass to chancellor George Osbourne by giving a penny back to its customers. A planned 3p rise in beer duty was scrapped and replaced by a 1p cut in the price of a pint as part of the Budget announcement last month.

In response, the Old Neighbourhood pub in Chalford is giving a penny back to every customer who buys a pint. “They have a good laugh about it when we give them their penny back,” said licensee Ken Breakwell. “The reduction is a bit of a joke really, because it isn’t going to make a difference. It is the Government’s failed attempt to get the pub trade going.”

Around £1 of the price of a pint is taken in tax. Mr Osbourne also announced that the alcohol duty escalator – which adds inflation plus 2% to the price – would be abolished for beer completely.

The Citizen / Gloucestershire Live. Covid update. Thursday 16th April 2020 – The Old Neighbourhood: Like many of our local pubs, restaurants, cafes, and bars, The Old Neighbourhood in the heart of Chalford found itself in a tricky situation when closures of public venues came into effect. In order to cover rent, bills, and support their staff on furlough, The Old Neighbourhood opened up a community shop and turned the kitchen into a takeaway service. Since there are no shops in the immediate vacinity of the inn, the owners Jono and Sarah Armstrong wanted to provide an accessible place for people to buy basic foodstuffs while also continuing to support their suppliers. Daily deliveries are made by the pub’s greengrocer, butcher and local bakery and Sarah cooks up a storm in the kitchen to make sure that the community can still join in with the pub’s curry night at home.

Gloucestershire Live spoke to Jono, who said: “The response from our customers and neighbours has been overwhelming and their support is very humbling. We are just so pleased that we can make a difference and help where we can.” The positive response from people on Facebook has been huge, with many of the pub’s customers commenting on how the inn is keeping up community morale and is taking social-distancing measures seriously in order to protect everyone involved.

Map Reference: SO 896032

Stroud News & Journal, On-line. By James Felton (25th March 2024)

VILLAGERS are fighting to save their only pub from being lost forever after serving the community for nearly 170 years. The much-loved Old Neighbourhood Inn at Chalford Hill in the heart of the Five Valleys closed unexpectedly nearly 18 months ago – sparking a campaign by locals to buy it for the community. But this week fight was stepped up after plans came to light to turn the pub, which opened in the 1850s, into a residential property. A change of use application was lodged with Stroud District Council earlier this month to transform the venue in Midway, Chalford Hill into a house. Residents, including the several hundred members of the campaign group who pledged funds to buy the venue, have voiced concerns and disappointment at the latest plans, which they say will rip out the ‘heart of their community’. Tim Woodfine, chair of the Chalford Hill Community Benefit Society, said: “There is exceptionally strong community support for acquiring and re-opening the pub and we have developed a robust business case for a vibrant pub and community hub.” Neighbour and CBS member Claire Mitchell said: “Anyone who loves their local pub will understand that the Old Neighbourhood wasn’t just a pub, it was at the heart of our community. “We miss the sounds of music and children playing in the garden, cosy winter nights by the fire and lazy summer afternoons with friends. “The car park hosted a weekly market and community events, was a safe place where parents could park and walk their children to and from the village school, as well as providing much needed car parking space in our otherwise narrow roads. “We need it all back!” Green district councillor for Chalford Tricia Watson said: “Our village has lost shops, a post office, community halls, green spaces, bus services, even a primary school since I moved here 15 years ago. “There is great determination in our close-knit community to reinstate this space as a village centre.” However the applicant is claiming that the building now needs ‘to be put to use’ while a property consultant added that ‘the pub could not make enough money to be considered a long term viable business.’ In a planning statement, the applicant said: “The building is deteriorating and if it is not used as a pub then it needs to be put to some other use such as a home for someone.” They also claim that over the last 18 months there has been a ‘lack of interest in leasing or purchasing the property to remain as a pub.’ Property consultants Bruton Knowles, in their appraisal which was submitted as a planning document, said: “From the length of time the Old Neighbourhood Inn has been closed it is likely that previous customers have now established themselves in the alternative local pubs. “Should it reopen it would have a detrimental impact on the trade of those pubs leading to all of them struggling to make a living. “Even taking figures for a best case scenario the pub could not make enough money to be considered a long term viable business.” Originally named the Mechanics Arms, the pub’s quirky modern name given in the early 1990s comes from the nearby Old Neighbourhood road. With its historic charm and large beer garden, the pub has been a popular gathering spot for generations of people. The bid to buy it was backed by MP Siobhan Baillie, who said the hoped the group could ‘put together a meaningful community plan for the pub to come back to life as a much-loved and well-used community hub and business.’

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Ann Crook (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1891: £9.7s.6d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Sarah Ann Crook (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1903: £9.7s.6d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Landlords at the Mechanics Arms / Old Neighbourhood Inn include:

1856 L. Crook

1885 Thomas Hawkins

1882,1891 Oliver Crook

1902,1906 Mrs Sarah Crook (Sarah Ann Crook in 1903)

1919,1932 James P. Whiting

1939 Wallace Stringer Webb

?-c.1968 Frank and Winnie Cooke (Winnie was Wallace Stringer Webb’s daughter)

1980 James Polley (moved to the Crown, Minchinhampton)

1992 Dave and Gillian Hicks

1997 (April) Nick Walls and Sue Wainwright

1998 (July) Andy Woolmer and Mansell Brown

1999 (May) John and Geri Croxford

2006 Stephen Bridgman (established the Pavillion Indian Restaurant with Azadur Rahman in 2007)

2008 Lesley Auluk (Old Neighbourhood Inn)

2013 Ken Breakwell

2020 Jono and Sarah Armstrong

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