The Cirencester Brewery once supplied beer to the Prince Albert in Station Road – probably the only Cirencester Brewery pub in Gloucester. It is probable that the beers were transported to Gloucester from Cirencester on the Midland & South Western Junction Railway. The Prince Albert was convenient for both the Great Western and Midland Railway stations and close to the Cattle Market. The Cirencester Brewery Ltd was sold to H & G Simmonds of Reading in 1948. The Prince Albert became a Courage pub in 1960 when the Simmonds brewery was acquired by Courage, Barclay & Co. It is worth noting that in the 1960’s and 1970’s there were other Courage Brewery pubs in Gloucester including the Cross Keys in Barnwood, County Arms in Millbrook Street and the Welsh Harp in London Road. These Courage pubs were once tied to George’s Bristol Brewery. This is indictive of how the ‘Big 6’ breweries became such dominant market leaders from the 1960’s through brewery acquisitions.
It closed down c.1996 and languished for a long time with boarded up windows. It eventually reopened on 26th March 1999 as PA Sports Cafe and Pub. The premises had another makeover and opened as ‘the PA’ on 27th July 2001. It became Bar Spirit – specialising in Japanese cuisine – in 2003. In April 2007 it had yet another change of identity, this time to Jameson’s – an Irish theme pub. Mick Deady, a jockey by trade from County Cork, and his partner Sam Jameson decided to rename the pub ‘Jameson’s’ because of the association with Jameson’s Irish Whiskey and his girlfriends surname. It’s last incarnation as a licensed premises was Fusion.
The building remained empty and boarded up for several years becoming an eye-sore in this strategic part of Gloucester near to the Bus and Railway Stations. The premises is now a children’s nursery.
1879 Prince Albert, Whitfield Street (no landlords name given)
1885,1906 William Payne
1919,1927 Mrs Ada Rasbach
1936 F.R. Hobrough
1958-1985 Robert & Jean Livesey
2007 Mick Deady and Sam Jameson (Jameson’s).
Gloucester Journal 29th January 1870. Whitfield Street. Advertisement: ‘Sir John Amott’s & Co’s Cork Stout in Hogsheads and Barrels (Imperial Measures). Sole agent for Gloucester and District. J.P. Smith, Whitfield Street.’
The Citizen: January 20th, 1977 – Housing on Prince Albert site: It is hoped a start will be made before April 1st on redevelopment for housing of the Prince Albert site in Gloucester. The City Planning Applications Sub-Committee last night approved the scheme of Gloucestershire Housing Society Ltd for 67 two and one-person flats, with 41 car parking spaces underneath. The development is bounded by Station Road, Whitfield Street, Russell Street and Bedford Street but does not include the Prince Albert public house and the neighbouring accountant’s office, or the solicitor’s office next door and the building on the corner of Russell/Bedford Street, which will be extended.
Councillor John Robins said he understood Housing Corporation and Ministry approval will be forthcoming and work will start on April 1st. “It will be good to see this site redeveloped,” commented City Planning Officer Mr Kenneth Spelman.
July 1984: Come and Sing-a-Long and listen to Rich on the Piano at the Prince Albert, Station Road, Gloucester on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The Citizen: Saturday, September 7th 1985 – Bob bows out (picture): Mr Bob Livesey tenant of the Prince Albert, Station Road, Gloucester, raises his glass to his customers after retiring from the public house after 27 years as landlord. Bob will not be leaving the City, he will be setting up home in Calton Road.
The Citizen: February 20th, 1998 – Derelict pub ‘must reopen’. By Denis Apperly: (edit) Landlords branded a city centre pub boarded up more than 18 months a “disgraceful eyesore”. The newly launched Gloucester Licenced Victuallers Association (LVA) called for the 100-year-old Prince Albert on the corner of Station Road and Whitfield Street to be opened as soon as possible. But the owners are still in a quandary over what to do with the pub, despite gaining planning permission for major refurbishment more than a year ago. The windows and doors are boarded up and festooned with fly-posters. There are also signs that side and back doors have recently been forced open. LVA treasurer Anne Howell, of the White Hart, Kingsholm, said: “It is a real eyesore and such a shame that a building which is beautiful inside should be boarded up for so long. Instead of big companies trying to open new places in Gloucester there are perfectly good pubs like the Prince Albert which should be reopened.
Grand Metropolitan subsidiary Inntrepreneur, which bought the pub from the Courage brewery, proposed a £200,000 refurbishment scheme in November of 1996. The city council agreed plans to provide two new canopied entrances off Station Road, with dwarf walls and pillars with wrought-iron frieze and planting boxes at first floor level. City planning officer Caroline Rafferty confirmed that full planning permission had been granted on January 7th, 1997. “But there is an outstanding application for new signs,” she added.
David Hughes, a spokesman for Inntrepreneur said: “The company is still assessing its plans for the pub. There have been several proposals over the year but nothing has been finalised. We cannot give this a time scale and cannot say what sort of establishment it will be. We are looking at several ideas.” Mr Hughes told The Citizen at the end of 1996 that it was hoped to reopen the Prince Albert in April, 1997. “There will be a complete modernisation of what has been a rather tired old boozer,” he said at the time. “It is in a good position for the lunchtime business trade and it will cater for younger people in the evenings.”
Prince Albert (PA Sports Café & Pub)
The Citizen: January 27th, 1999 – Right royal going over for Prince: By Matt Holmes: (edit) Work has begun on transforming a Gloucester city centre pub which was once described as a “tired male boozer”. The 100-year-old Prince Albert pub, on the corner of Station Road, was boarded up more than two years ago, leaving it a sad shadow of the fine Victorian watering-hole it used to be. Now commuters coming from Gloucester railway station are greeted with a scruffy building festooned with fly posters and graffiti. But the Prince Albert will soon be back in business, according to its new owners, the Unique Pub Company.
Work has begun on a complete overhaul of the once-splendid Victorian interior along with a facelift of the dilapidated façade. Unique is hoping to attract a new genre of drinkers to the city pub, which was described by previous owners as a “rather tired old male boozer.” David Hughes, spokesman for Unique, said contractors are on site and the newly revamped pub should be open by mid-March. “We can confirm that structural and general refurbishment work has begun on the Prince Albert. “We have also found an experienced operator to take on the running of the pub, and when licenses are granted and the refit has been completed we should be able to open by mid-March.
Anne Howell, treasurer of the newly-formed Gloucester Licensed Victuallers Association (LVA) said she hoped it would be worth the wait. “We would much rather have existing pubs reopened than so-called fun pubs opened where there is no need for them. The city is getting full of themed pubs and the traditional pub is dying. We welcome news that it is going to be reopened but we don’t feel there is any need for a fun pub – if it is going to be a traditional pub then we have no problem with it.”
Mr Hughes said the pub will be aimed at students and young people but added, “It is not going to be one of those hideous themed pubs.”
Unique Pub Co. & Falcon Inns. Welcome you to the grand opening of the Prince Albert (PA Sports Café & Pub), 1 Station Road, Gloucester on Friday 26th March 1999 (from 12pm midday)
The Citizen: Friday April 2nd, 1999. Revival toast for inn crowd. (feature). The great Gloucester pub revival has seen another boost with the re-opening of the Prince Albert which was boarded up for two years. The 100-year-old pub on the corner of Station Road – once called a “tired male boozer” – has been completely refurbished by new owners the Unique Pub Company. “Unique is the largest independent pub company in Britain and we believe that investing in this Gloucester pub is worthwhile,” said company spokesman David Hughes.
The re-opening on the pub last Friday is the latest in a series of success stories concerning licensed premises in the city.
April 2001: The Prince Albert, 1 Station Road, Gloucester: Open all day, food served daily, satellite TV, DJ’s Thursdays, Friday & Saturday night.
Bar Spirit / Spirit
Advertisement: December 20th, 2003 – Live the Christmas Spirit Experience – Join us for the ultimate Christmas Day party. Doors open 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Join Big Ben in the Countdown to 2004! In Gloucester’s newest and most contemporary style bar.
Advertisement: March 3rd 2004 – Bar Spirit, 1 Station Road, Gloucester: Sunday lunch. Buy one get one free.
The Citizen: October 1st, 2005 – Weekend ‘Eating Out Review’: (extract from review by Lystra Maisey) “…. I made a beeline for Spirit, Gloucester’s new Japanese restaurant, with great expectations. With tiny nightlights dancing shadows on the cream walls, the atmosphere combines the chic with the comfortable”. “Every dish was beautifully presented, and the service excellent. Staff were happy to tell us more about the dishes created by their South Korean chef, who left the Millennium Hotel in London to create the authentic dishes of which Spirit is so proud. With reasonable prices, a feast of beautiful fresh food and friendly service, we can’t wait to go back and try it again.”
The Citizen: Thursday, April 19th 2007: Community News – raise a glass to new pub landlords: (edit) A new landlord is at the helm at Jameson’s (formerly Spirit Restaurant) in Station Road. Jameson’s is the first pub venture for Mick Deady and his partner Sam Jameson. Mick, 28, a jockey by trade from County Cork said pubs and the Emerald Isle were in the blood for him and Sam, 34. “We named it Jameson’s because of the Irish whiskey and it being Sam’s name – she’s part Irish,” he said. The couple have introduced a strong music theme to the pub and different nights offer acoustic music, bands and DJ’s. There is sport on four widescreen TV’s including footie and hurling from the Republic of Ireland. Mick said: “I like Gloucester and there are lots of nice people who come into the pub.”
Weekend Citizen: Saturday April 19th, 2008: Cheers says landlady as pub reopens. By Emma Lynch (edit): Jameson’s in Station Road has reopened with a new publican at the helm. Landlady Kathleen Croydon is looking forward to attracting trade to the pub. The venue, which has seen a number of name changes over the years has had a complete refurbishment. Kathleen, who used to run the historic New Inn said: “I’ve put flyers in the Land Registry so I’m hoping workers from there will come across. It’s going to be a place where everyone can come. We’ll also be having entertainment. My plan is to cater for the young and older people by creating a nice atmosphere.”
The Citizen: August 1st, 2009 – Time to toast return of pub. By Sarah Webb: Drinkers in the city centre have been raising a glass to a newly reopened pub. Fusion in Station Road has been re-vamped and is now open for business with a new manager. It is being run by Alex Fletcher who brings with him 13 years of experience in the catering industry. He said: “It’s great to re-open the pub. Fusion is in a great location as we are close to the train station and less than ten minutes from the town centre. The building is quite old and it has been closed for a while so we have been working hard to make sure drinkers enjoy themselves in a clean and friendly environment.
Fusion was bought by pub company London Town which has fought to re-open the venue and offer a new menu and other options for drinkers. The pub is offering two meals for £6.50 and has Sunday Roasts available on the menu. A London Town spokesman said: “Despite a trend towards pub closures, London Town focuses of identifying outlets which it believes have a viable future given the right management input and logistical support.”
Gloucester City Councillor Pam Tracey (Con. Westgate) said she is pleased Fusion is back open. “It used to be an old-fashioned pub for regulars, but it has changed now. It does look good and if it brings business into the community then I am very happy about it. I wish any business in the town centre good luck when they open a new business. I just hope that they respect their neighbours and the city centre and try to keep the noise level down.”
For Sale by Public Auction – Fusion, 1 Station Road, Gloucester. To be held at Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales, on Wednesday 5th December 2012 at 2.30 prompt. City Centre public house, contemporary open plan bar, two flats (one and three bedrooms). Price Guide £195,000. Auctioneers – Sidney Phillips & Co.
The Citizen: March 8th, 2013 – Bar could become new gym and spa: From pulling pints to pumping iron, a former pub in Gloucester city could be transformed into a gym and spa. A planning application has been submitted to Gloucester City Council to transform Fusion, in Station Road, into a leisure facility. The nightspot opened in 2009 after a revamp but it is believed to have been closed for some time. The new proposals don’t include any additional building work other than removing current fittings.
Barry Leach, of Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership, has welcomed the plans despite having some concerns. He said: “This building has opened and closed quite a lot over the years and we hope that this use will be the one that keeps it open and active. We will be expressing concern over the number of parking spaces, there are only three. But it is great to see an empty building being bought into use.” The plans suggest the applicant, James George, is taking the old bar from the main room and filling the space with gym equipment.
The Citizen: Tuesday 25th June, 2013 – Building put back on market as pub: A bar that was destined to become a gym could now be a boozer again. Plans to turn the Fusion drinking hole into a fitness centre and spa look set to be put on ice. Now the bar, in Station Road, could once again be a place for pulling pints rather than pumping iron. It has been put back on the market as a bar by estate agents Sidney Phillips. The freehold is available for £205,000. Plans for a new gym in the building had only recently received planning consent by Gloucester City Council. City council leader Paul James said he was surprised by the move. He said: “It is disappointing that there won’t be a new use for the building in the short term. I think in the longer terms there could be a good potential with the redevelopment of Kings Quarter and this could be part of that. Lots of people have tried without a great deal of success to make the place work so anyone who wants to take it on will have to work hard to achieve something that is attractive and distinctive to make it a successful business.”
Darrel Kirby Blog: The Citizen: July 13th 2013 – There’s still life in the old pub yet: (edit) I was pleased to read in The Citizen last week that the Fusion Bar in Station Road is back on the market, so it may once again be a pub. There were plans to convert it into a fitness centre and spa, but apparently that has fallen through. Paul James expressed disappointment that it would not be finding a new use and, to some degree, I can sympathise with that view: better to have it put to good use than lying empty I suppose. However, I think it is always sad when we lose a pub.
Fusion was originally called the Prince Albert and it existed since at least 1867, when it was ideally situated for both railway stations and for the cattle market. Its fortunes have waned since then and in recent years it has undergone many changes of both ownership and name. Already commonly known as the PA, it became the PA Sports Café & Pub, then Bar Spirit (specialising in Japanese food), then the Irish-themed Jameson’s, before finally reopening as Fusion in 2008. This latest incarnation led to the impressive Victorian exterior being painted drab grey and garish purple and being bathed in lurid neon lights – clearly setting out its pitch as a part of the party scene of the nearby Eastgate Strip. Maybe it was just too far off the strip, out of sight, out of mind – because it opened and closed a couple of times before finally calling it a day. So perhaps it’s not viable as a pub and a new use should be found for it, but lets not be hasty. It isn’t really in that bad a position: the railway station is still there and the bus station is right opposite. Both of those things should surely make it viable if it provides the right offering. Also, as Paul James is quoted as saying, there is longer term potential with the redevelopment of King’s Quarter. The night-time economy is intended to be a factor in the new development, so pubs should be included. What this usually means is soul-less, new-build chain pubs – better to have an existing building with some character to fill the role instead. But in the meanwhile, just because the pub has failed before it doesn’t mean that it can’t be a success. So I hope that Fusion does soon reopen as a pub and that it does well.
For Sale by Public Auction – Fusion, 1 Station Road, Gloucester. To be held at Celtic Manor Resort, South Wales, on Wednesday 18th June, 2014 at 2.30. City Centre pub/commercial premises in excess of 5,000 sq. ft. Open plan ground floor. 2 flats 4 & 2 bedrooms). Currently Closed. Price Guide £195,000. Auctioneers – Sidney Phillips & Co.
The Citizen: July 11th, 2014: Sale of Fusion as freehold pub puts paid to fitness centre bid. By Hayley Mortimer: (edit) A bar that was destined to become a gym could now become a watering hole again after it was sold at auction. The former Fusion bar in Station Road looked set to become a fitness centre and spa after planning permission was granted for a change of use. However, the nightspot was put back on the market as a boozer through estate agents Sidney Phillips with the freehold available at £205,000. It sold at public auction for £190,000 on June 18th, but staff at Sidney Phillips were unable to provide any details about the buyer or their plans for the building.
Fusion opened in 2009 after a revamp, but it has been closed for some time. Barry Leach, of Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership said it was a risk to take on the property as a pub. “It has never worked as a pub and has opened and closed quite a lot over the years,” he said. “Whoever takes it on will need to be good at managing places and a deep pocket. But I don’t have a problem with there being a pub there because it would help liven up that area of the city.”
The Citizen: Saturday October 1st, 2016: Under-age inhabitants – Nursery plan for former bar. By Tom Gibbon: A one-time favourite of Gloucester’s night-time scene could be transformed into a children’s nursery. Fusion, which has been closed and unloved for several years, could take on a new look if proposals by Cheltenham company the All Electric Group get the go-ahead. The former bar in Station Road had had permission to be turned into a gym and spa, but the scheme never come to fruition. A planning statement by agents Hunter Page said: “The application proposes to change the use of the property from a spa/gym (D2 use) to a children’s nursery (D1 use).” The nursery would accommodate up to 70 children. “Whilst Ofsted will allow up to 80 children given the size of the premises, it is felt that fewer umbers would allow for better standards of care and stewardship. In terms of staff, it is anticipated that the nursery will require a manager, four room leaders, six assistants, two or three apprentice staff and a part time cook and cleaner. It is anticipated that the hours of operation will be 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.”
Fusion was rumoured to have attracted the interest of craft ale company BrewDog as they looked to open in Gloucester, but their interest has since waned.
Planning Application: August 25th, 2020 – Change of use from a Public House (A4 use) to a children’s nursery (D1 use)