The Old Crown is on the junction with Westgate Street and Upper Quay Street opposite St. Nicholas Church. The Old Crown is named after a medieval ale house that closed in 1758 on the same site. It was formerly the meeting place of the Royalists during the Civil War in the 1640’s.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s the building housed Woods Army and Navy Surplus Stores. When the business closed down the building fell into a sad state of disrepair. In November 1984 a cordoned off area was in place and traffic was diverted around the Grade II listed building. Parts of the structure collapsed into the street.
Salvation came from the famous Yorkshire brewers, Samuel Smith of Tadcaster, who invested £1 in renovating the old building. It was probably easier to demolish the building and build a new structure but the option was taken to strengthen and restore the Old Crown which opened as a pub again on 6th August 1990.
The pub is on two levels, the downstairs bar is traditional in style and the upstairs lounge has soft furnishings. The pub is reputedly haunted. It is said that there are ghosts of Royalists from the time of the Civil War and a ghost of a previous pub landlord who is supposed to have hung himself in the middle floor of the building haunts the lounge bar.
A dog, owned by former landlord David Thomas and his partner Jenni, would not enter the lounge bar on the middle floor.
Darrel Kirby in his book ‘The Story of Gloucester Pubs’ (The History Press, 2010) has an interesting viewpoint on the way Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Brewery operate their pubs. It is an opinion that I fully agree with. Darrel wrote:
“The current landlord, Keith, has been running the pub with his wife Gel since the end of 2008 and is trying to build up a strong clientele. However, its efforts are hampered by restrictions from the brewery, which prevent him from capitalising on the traditional charm of the place by selling real ale, but on the other hand also forbid him from competing with other nearby hostelries by having live music or showing televised events. I wish him well, but in the current climate such handicaps are not helpful.”
Landlords at the Old Crown include:
1991 Campbell Scott-McKay
1997 (October 1st),1998 David Thomas and Jennie Smith (David was only 26 in 1998)
– Warren and Claire Stevens
2007 Sue Stone
2008, 2010 Keith and wife Gel