The Plough Inn was once a simple brick built pub. A photograph taken c.1902 (when George Albert Hale was the landlord) appears to show serious cracks in the brickwork between the upper floor windows above the front bay window. The pub was later rendered, perhaps to repair the damaged masonry.
The Plough Inn was sold by Whitbread in 1991. Bill Ratcliffe was a keen horse racing fan who part owned three racehorses. During Bill’s time at the Plough the pubs darts team were champions or runners up in the Gloucester first division for five successive years.
Gloucestershire CAMRA: Real Ale in Gloucestershire – Plough, Upton Street: Beers – Whitbread West Country Pale Ale. Old fashioned community corner pub sold by Whitbread in 1991. Fabric little changed as yet. Landlord provides spontaneous live entertainment.
The Citizen: December 15th, 1986 – Thieves take pub gift cash: Mean thieves have stolen a collecting bottle containing over £300 in coins intended to help Gloucester children in need. The bottle was stolen from the Plough Inn in Upton Street, Tredworth, late on Saturday night. Landlord Steve Gwatkin said the bottle was behind the bar at closing time but later investigations revealed it had disappeared. “The money was going to buy sweatshirts for children in the Dolphini Club so that when they went on trips they could easily be recognised – now they will have to go without,” he said. It took seven weeks for regulars to raise the cash and now Mr Gwatkin wants the bottle to be returned.
The Citizen: Saturday April 25th, 1987 – Pub ploughed on to raise cash: A mean thief forced regulars at a Gloucester pub to double their efforts to raise cash for a local club. Landlord and landlady Steve and Brenda Gwatkin plus customers at the Plough Inn, Upton Street, had to start all over again when their charity bottle holding about £300 was stolen. But their extra efforts, which included a fun walk on Boxing Day, all proved worthwhile when 42 sweatshirts were handed over to the Dolphin Club this week. The Tuffley based club is organised for families with children and youngsters who are mentally and physically handicapped. “The shirts will come in very handy,” said club chairman Mr Michael Neilens.
The Citizen: February 6th, 1998 – Chip pan blaze – Home alone Bill sets the pub on fire. By Andy Davies, Tredworth reporter: A pub in Tredworth has become known as Smokey Joe’s after the landlord accidently set fire to the kitchen. Bill Ratcliffe, 55, of the Plough, Upton Street, was alone in the pub last Tuesday while his wife Pat was away visiting their son Billy in Bournemouth. At 5.30pm he put a pan of chips on the hob to cook and went upstairs – and forgot all about them. “I’ll just knock myself up a quick snack of steak and chips, I thought to myself,” said Bill. “I went upstairs to check I’d put the gas off, then sat down and watched the news. At about 6pm I heard this strange sound and thought ‘that’s a funny little crackling noise’. I heard it again and thought someone must have broken in. I came downstairs and the kitchen was a wall of flames, and the bar was full of smoke. It was all I could do to get to the phone to call the fire brigade.”
The fire brigade arrived within minutes and put the fire out. Bill said the fireman had bet him he would never be able to clear up the mess before the pub opened that evening – but with the help of a couple of regulars cleaning soot-stained glasses and walls, it was business as usual. The firemen were still there when Bill’s wife Pam and son phoned up – and the phone was answered by the fire-chief. “It was funny – I knew before he’d told me about the fire,” said Pam. (edit)
The Citizen: February 11th, 1998: Pub landlord hopes for Euro grant aid. By Andy Davies. Barton & Tredworth reporter: A City landlord is hoping urban regeneration grants will foot the bill for repairs to his pub, which he believes was damaged by sewer work. His bid for European urban regeneration funds follows an unsuccessful appeal to sewerage bosses to pay for repairs to his pub which he claims was damaged by pipe-laying. Cracks have appeared down the front of the Plough Inn where the wooden window frame meets the front wall. Pub proprietor Bill Ratcliffe says the cracks appeared more than a year ago when contractors were relaying sewers and had a compound for heavy plant across the road from the pub. “The vibrations from the contractors’ machines caused the bay window to move away from the wall slightly, leading to cracks all around it,” said Mr Ratcliffe. “Now the wallpaper on the ceiling of the bay hangs off due to the dampness caused by the rainwater leakage.”
Mr Ratcliffe asked for compensation from the city council towards the repair of the two downstairs bay windows, including the badly damaged lounge bar window – but 12 months after the city surveyor came round to inspect the damage, Mr Ratcliffe has not heard anything. City council drainage chief Frank Heggs said: “We inspected it and the cracks were found to be older than what had been suggested. They might have got worse in the last two years, but as far as we could see they pre-dated the work on the sewers. We advised Mr Ratcliffe to contact his insurers and ask them to contact ours.”
Now Mr Ratcliffe hopes to combine the repairs – which will cost £3,000 for the two windows – with a complete redecoration of the outside of the pub. The hapless landlord is also in the throws of redecorating the inside of the pub following a chip pan fire recently which gutted the pub’s rear kitchen. “They are trying to improve the cosmetic appearance of the area of Barton and Tredworth, and I’ve been told there are regeneration grants available from some European Community fund,” said Mr Ratcliffe. “Who the money comes from doesn’t matter to me.” Phil Lane, the city council’s head of urban regeneration said: “It’s difficult to say whether the pub would be eligible. If he puts in a proposal, we’d ask ‘does it stack up commercially’ and ‘does it need public funding or is it already a successful business? ’Each proposal is judged on its merit, but it would probably be worth his while coming to talk with me.”
The Citizen: October 3rd, 1998: Tredworth. Report by Pat Scannell: Fundraising is very much on the agenda at the Plough Inn (opposite St James’ City Farm), Gloucester. Recently Bill and Pam Ratcliffe, who run the pub, received a letter from Dr J.A. Rusforth thanking them for £115 raised by generous Plough customers for Scoo B Doo. Fundraising for this charity continues on Sunday, October 18th at 1.30pm with a sponsored haircut. If you would like to sponsor any of the long-haired customers pop in and see Bill or Pam.
The Citizen: February 4th, 1999 – Landlord Bill’s new foal is just champion: Proud locals at a Tredworth pub have been ‘wetting the baby’s head’ after the possible future winner of the 2000 Guineas race at Newmarket tottered into the world. The landlord of the Plough at Tredworth, Bill Radcliffe, has been ‘over the moon’ since one of his racehorses, Forget to Remind Me, gave birth to a male foal at Meadow Stud, Birdwood. The potential champion’s father is top racehorse Blue Grass Prince, which was only put out to stud last year. “This is possibly the first foal he has fathered and I am over the moon,” said Bill, who has a part share in other racehorses. “This is the first horse I have ever bred and I hope to be putting him in for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in the year 2003, if he proves to be good enough – of course.” Bill has had a lifelong interest in racehorses. Besides Forget to Remind Me, he has part-shares in Simpson’s Domain, Tirol and Astrofel. “A couple of my regulars have also come in with me with some of the horses, so there is a lot of pub interest in horse racing,” he said.
The Citizen: February 8th, 1999. Martin Kirby’s Column – Tiny hooves…Congratulations to Bill Ratcliffe, landlord of Tredworth’s Plough Inn, on the birth of his baby. Well, his horse’s baby. Bill is s dedicated racing fan and part owner of some promising steeds. I once accompanied him on a trip to see his first horse, thinking he had said ‘Andoversford’. On what turned out to be a long day the actual destination was Andover in Hampshire. Lets hope Bill’s horses know where they are going!
The Citizen: January 29th, 1999 – Pensioners party at the Plough. Christmas comes but once a year – but it came twice for Tredworth pensioners, who enjoyed a party in their favourite local this week. Just as memories of the season of goodwill were beginning to fade away, Bill and Pam Ratcliffe, licensees of the Plough Inn at Tredworth, threw a Christmas party for 30 grateful senior citizens. “They had a traditional Christmas dinner with dessert, followed by a prize bingo and a spot of karaoke,” said Bill. “They all had a good sing-song. The belated Christmas party was made possible by a weekly lottery run by the pub. “We raise £9 a week which gives them all a party and a day out later in the year,” Bill said.
The Plough Inn has been in Bill and Pam’s hands for nearly eight years. “It’s just a little old-fashioned community pub,” said Bill. “We have our regulars and have a pretty successful darts team – champions or runners-up in Gloucester first division every year for the past five years, and we also run a shove ha’penny winter league.”
The Citizen: February 21st, 2001. Letters – Party Thanks: Please let us thank Bill and Pam and all who helped provide a lovely late Christmas party for the senior citizens, which they provided at the Plough and County Hotel (sic), Upton Street, Tredworth. R.L. Wintle, Robinswood, Gloucester.
The Citizen: February 28th, 2001 – Need for crime prevention: A condom machine has been stolen from a Gloucester pub. Thieves struck in the men’s toilets behind the Plough Inn, Upton Street, during Sunday evening. “They removed the machine from the wall, along with an unknown quantity of condoms and cash,” said Inspector David Evans. “We don’t know whether the thieves were after the condoms or the money.”
The Citizen: February 15th, 2003 – Darts. Family suffer rare losses. By Graham White. If there is a discussion bout darts in Gloucester, it is likely that the Townsend family will be mentioned. Darts is a big sport in the Townsend family and they have dominated the local scene for several years. So it was something of a surprise when they started 2003 in poor form. They recently managed to lose two successive matches – the first time this has happened since February 1999. Representing the Plough, the Townsends have won numerous times are rarely out of the top two in the Monday Darts League. In fact they have not finished below the runners-up spot in the last five years. During the past 10 seasons the Plough have won the league several times, have been runners-up twice and were third in the 1997-98 Winter League. They have also won the cup six times in the last eight years and were runners-up once. Of their last 132 league and cup matches, the Townsends have only lost 19 games.
The Plough’s team’s backbone consists of brothers Graham, Steve and Geoff but there is also a strong future for the team. For Steve’s two sons, Sean and Kirk, are already regulars in the team along with Graham’s son Ricky. Other key players are father and son Dave and Anthony Coolman plus Phil Speck. “Many clubs put together strong teams to try and beat us but they do not have the strength in depth,” said Geoff Townsend. “We may have had a bit of a setback recently but we will bounce back.”
The Citizen: April 1st, 2005: Notices – Thanks. Bill and Pam, former licensees of the Plough Inn, Tredworth, would like to thank all their friends and customers for all the cards and gifts. Thank you all, see you soon.
Advertisement: April / May 2006. Soul at the Plough, Upton Street, Gloucester. Every Friday. Res Jocks and guest. Soul & Motown Sounds.
Public Notices. February 2007. TLT Solicitors. (edit): Notice is hereby given that Punch Taverns Plc have applied in respect of the Plough public house, 9 Upton Street, Gloucester, to extend the sale of alcohol by one and a half hours Sunday (until 0.00) and one additional hour Monday to Wednesday (until 0.00) and by four additional hours Thursday to Saturday (until 03.00). To permit live music Monday to Wednesday 10.00 until 00.00, Thursday to Sunday 10.00 until 03.00 and Sunday 12.00 to 00.00. An additional 30 minutes ‘drinking-up’ time on top of the last permitted sale of alcohol. Representatives to the application to be made in writing by 27th February 2007 to Gloucester City Council Licensing Authority.
The Citizen: May 26th, 2008. Martin Kirby’s Column – She’s ready to plough family furrow: It’s not every day you’re asked to officially open a pub, but last Friday I had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the Plough, in Gloucester’s Ryecroft Street. The pub is being run by Rachael Jones, the fourth generation of the city family to be licensees in the city. Many will remember her uncle, ‘Cocker’ Jones, running Gloucester’s most famous cider house – the County Arms, in Millbrook Street – where every day was red nose day!
The Citizen: May 27th, 2008 – Keep up with the Jones’ at new look inn, popular pub family reopen the Plough: Despite the news that pubs across the country are closing one Barton bar is bucking the trend by reopening. The Plough, in Upton Street, is back in business after years as a derelict wreck and it’s all thanks to one of the city’s famous publican families. Licensee Rachel Jones is the fourth generation of her family to serve behind the bar. Her parents, Peter and Marion ran the Blenheim Inn, in Barton Street, from 1994 until Marion retired. Before that, Rachel’s uncle, known to his regulars as ‘Cocker’ Jones was landlord at the former County Arms, Millbrook Street. The pub was one of the city’s famous cider houses which was eventually demolished in 1996.
The Citizen’s columnist Martin Kirby officially opened the renovated Plough Inn on Friday. Now Rachel is looking forward to welcoming customers old and new through the door after months of hard work to restore the bar to its former glory. Rachel said that at times the pub had resembled a TV makeover show with work being carried out until the very last minute. But the results were worth it. “I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard,” she said. “It was a hectic time, on the opening day we still had carpets being laid but we made it and now I’m looking forward to see customers old and new. The Plough Inn is going to be a traditional, friendly pub where everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.”
Landlords at the Plough Inn include:
1879 Mrs Allen
1893 C.A. Smith
1902 George Albert Hale
1906 Hy. Thomas Thurston
1906/1907 C. Moulsdale
1919 Mrs Annie L. Hands
1927,1936,1939 Ernest Frederick Woolmer
1957 Frank Meakin
– Alice Stevens
1986 Steve Gwatkin
1992-2005 Bill and Pam Ratcliffe
2008 Rachael Jones