The Prince Arthur was on the corner of Arthur Street and the present Bruton Way. The present address is 47 Arthur Street, but previous addresses are given as 22A Arthur Street in 1936 and 99 Park Road in 1957. Today the building stands next to the busy A430 Bruton Way inner ring road. The urban landscape has changed significantly over the years, the Prince Arthur once overlooked the tracks of the Midland Railway and probably took custom from passengers using the nearby Gloucester Eastgate Station. Just before permanent closure of the Midland through route there was some excitement when ‘Peak’ Class 45 diesel loco 45046 ‘Royal Fusilier’ fouled the tracks and derailed directly opposite the Prince Arthur in June 1975. The tracks were lifted soon after and Bruton Way was constructed along the course of the old railway.
The Prince Arthur was once owned by Arnold, Perrett & Co.Ltd. of the Wickwar Brewery. Following the merger with the Cheltenham Original Brewery in 1924 and the closure of the brewery in Wickwar, the Prince Arthur had a long association with the Cheltenham brewery eventually becoming tied to Whitbread. For most of the 20th Century the Prince Arthur seems to have traded quietly, presumably serving the needs of the community well. As late as June 1999 the regulars at the pub were involved in charity raising events which suggests a well-organised and successful local pub.
The Prince Arthur had been tainted with a bad reputation in the early 2000’s. Residents of Arthur Street complained about loud music emanating from the pub, drug-dealing, prostitution, drunkenness and rowdy behaviour occurring in their street. The landlord at the time vehemently denied that the public disorder was not the fault of the pub. Such negativity and bad press tend to create a vicious downward circle, with the hapless landlord unable to defend the continued viability of the pub without the required neighbourhood support. Things came to a head on the night of Wednesday 25th 2002 when a man armed with a shotgun burst into the Prince Arthur, terrifying customers and approached an individual in the pub demanding money. Although no shots were fired in the pub, the gunman blasted a hole through a parked car windscreen outside the pub and a gunshot blast shattered a pub window. Luckily no one was hurt. This was the point of no return for the continued future of the pub as furious residents met with the police at a community and consultive meeting the day after to demand action. A video was shown to the police that claimed to give evidence of drug dealing. The police responded by allocating an officer to patrol Arthur Street. Meanwhile a letter was sent to Gloucester licensing magistrates by the Park Residents Association urging that the licence of the Prince Arthur be revoked at the earliest possible opportunity. Police later agreed that they would argue against the renewal of the premises licence. The landlord, placed in an impossible situation, said: “The sort of allegations that have been made about the pub have been affecting our trade. The Prince Arthur might not be the best pub in Gloucester, but it is certainly not the worse.”
Enterprise Inns put the Prince Arthur on the market in June 2003. A spokesman for Enterprise Inns, said: “The pub has been closed and is now marked for disposal by the company, as a de-licensed property. Pubs are an extremely valuable asset to their community – if they are seen to serve that community properly.” Expectations were that the new owners, a Middlesex based investment company, would convert the building to residential use. The final days of the Prince Arthur were in January 2004. In November 2005 an application was submitted to Gloucester City Licensing Authority to convert the property into a Pizza Hut take-away restaurant. In the subsequent conversion the ‘West Country Ales – Best in the West’ ceramic plaque, an integral part of the pub since the late 1950’s, was either removed or stolen.
So, did the removal of the Prince Arthur pub enhance the reputation of the area? That is open to debate as on the night of 18th July 2010 three armed robbers burst into Pizza Hut and stole money from the premises, brandishing a gun and threatening the staff. Police later arrested three young men.
Landlords at the Prince Arthur include:
1879 R.T. Denning
1893, 1906 Mrs C. Green (Park Road in 1893)
1936,1939 Rt.S. Bick
1957 Ernest Wootton
1999 Dave Williams
2002 Elizabeth Coleman
2003,2004 Rob Coleman
The Citizen: June 3rd, 1999 – Long pull is no pushover, say helpers: Pub regulars decided to exercise a few muscles to haul a 10-tonne lorry around Gloucester in aid of the Spring Centre, the charity for pre-school children with special needs. Starting out from the Prince Albert pub in Arthur Street, they dragged the lorry 5.8 miles up Black Dog Way, through Kingsholm, along Estcourt Road to the roundabout and back again. “It was tough,” admitted Sean Fanning as he nurtured his blisters. “The worst part of it was going over Wotton Pitch because it was uphill.” Landlord Dave Williams said between £500 and £600 was collected. “We chose the Spring Centre because we all have kids ourselves,” he said. Mr Williams thanked Gilders Transport for lending the lorry, Gloucester Rope & Tackle for the rope and all the people who helped raise the money.
The Citizen. Front page headline: Thursday September 26th, 2002 – Gun terror at City pub, man opens fire after bar threats. By Dennis Apperly & David Byers: Locals screamed in terror when a man armed with a shotgun burst into a city centre pub and opened fire. The man, wearing a motorcycle helmet, strode into the Prince Arthur public house on the corner of Arthur Street and Trier Way last night and threatened customers with a shotgun. He then left the pub and opened fire on cars outside, shattering a windscreen, before turning the gun on the pub, blasting one of the windows. Frightened regulars called the police and a hunt for the man was launched.
Detective Inspector Dave Sellwood said: “It’s too early to say what this was all about. It’s impossible to say at this stage whether this was drug related or domestic.” Pub landlady Beth Coleman said: “I was on my mobile phone outside the pub when I saw a black man walking inside and coming out again quickly. Then I heard two loud shots but I had absolutely no idea where they came from. Incidents like this simply never happen here and we don’t know who the gunman was.” She had not slept all night and had been left “terrified.”
Inspector Richard Smith said: “Police received a number of complaints of the possible use of a firearm in the Prince Arthur public house. “Witnesses said that a man wearing a motorcycle helmet entered the pub at approximately 10.25pm, approached a customer and threatened him and demanded money. A scuffle ensued and the man left the pub when shots were fired. The windscreen of a car was shattered and there was damage to a pub window.”
The Citizen. Front page headline: Thursday September 27th, 2002 – Give us back our street! By Dennis Apperly. Furious residents of Gloucester’s Prince Arthur Street are demanding police action to stop the drug dealing, prostitution and bawdy booze-ups which have turned their lives into “a living nightmare,” for the past two years. They say heroin and crack cocaine is being sold openly outside the Prince Arthur public house, young prostitutes ply their trade in the streets, noisy drinkers spill out over the pavements and illegally parked cars clog up their road – night after night.
An angry crowd of householders from the once quiet street, spearheaded by the local Neighbourhood Watch, complained bitterly at a meeting last night that they had become prisoners in their own homes and they wanted their street back. They told a police community and consultive meeting that a shooting on Wednesday night outside the pub, where miraculously nobody was hurt, was the last straw. Andrew Jackson, who handed Acting Superintendent John Clay a video of drug dealing in the street, said “We are besieged, prisoners in our own homes, trapped where we live and the problem is getting worse. We have been constantly asking the police for help – waiting for over two years now – but nothing ever gets done. This street has become completely drugs-orientated.” (edit)
The Citizen. Front page headline: Tuesday October 8th, 2002 – Arthur Street’s very own bobby: Drug dealers and pimps targeting a city centre street have a new enemy to contend with – the Arthur Street bobby. Police have taken the unprecedented step of assigning an officer dedicated solely to the problems in the street, which is just 200 yards long. It is only days since a gunman burst into the street’s Prince Arthur pub brandishing a shotgun. Residents say it was simply the tip of the iceberg in an area now notorious for criminal activity. They demanded action and the police delivered. But if the funding crisis threatening the county force hits Gloucestershire Constabulary the question is how many more crime hotspots can the police be expected to respond to?
The Citizen: January 30th, 2003 – ‘Close city pub in drugs shooting’. By Dennis Apperly: Angry residents are calling for a city centre pub – scene of a drug-linked shooting – to be closed down. They say goings-on at the Prince Arthur in Arthur Street are ruining their lives. Residents have written to Gloucester licensing magistrates raising allegations about the behaviour of drinkers at the pub. The street hit the headlines of The Citizen last summer and events came to a head on September 25th when a man opened fire outside the pub. The incident terrified customers, but no one was injured.
In an impassioned letter sent to Gloucester licensing magistrates, the Park Area Residents’ and Business Association objected strongly to the renewal of the pub’s licence. The association’s objections followed a “catalogue of complaints” and claim people feel “surrounded by chaos and disorder” and let down by the legal system. In their letter they claimed: “Unacceptably loud music emanates from the pub which is often audible on the corner of Park Road over 130 metres away so that people living in the area are unable to lead any normal life when the pub is open.”
Superintendent John Clay said: “It is really good to see residents getting together to express a collective view and we shall watch closely any developments. This is all part and parcel of the action drawn up with local residents and our licensing officer PC Alan Field has been passed a copy of the letter. He may well be called upon to give his views to the licensing magistrates. A spokeswoman for Gloucester licensing committee told the Citizen: “We do know about the letter from the residents’ association and the licensing clerk will be looking at it. The matter may come up for consideration at the next full transfer sessions held at the county court on February 4th.” PC Field added: “The renewal of the licence for the Prince Albert does not come up until 2004, but under the 1988 Licensing Act any person can apply for the revocation of a licence.”
Pub landlord Rob Coleman said: “This is a load of rubbish. Where is their proof? The authorities have checked out the pub and they can’t find anything wrong. I have never heard of this Park Residents’ Association before and don’t know what their point is.”
The Citizen: February 17th, 2003 – Man burst into pub brandishing gun: A 32-year-old man arrested after brandishing a gun in a Gloucester pub pleaded guilty to nine firearms offences to the city’s crown court. Wayne Robinson was arrested last September after he burst into the Prince Albert pub in Arthur Street. He admitted to three gun offences relating to September 25th; possessing a firearm and ammunition in a public place, possessing a prohibited and possessing a firearm while committing criminal damage. He denied possessing a gun with intent to danger life on the same date.
Robinson – who was flanked by two police officers throughout his hearing – also admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply, had his case adjourned for a pre-sentence report.
The Citizen: April 29th, 2003 – ‘Drugs claims damaging pub’. By Dennis Apperly. A landlady has sprung to the defence of her city centre pub insisting it was not the “drugs den” it was made out to be. Elizabeth Coleman of the Prince Arthur in Arthur Street said that although drugs were a “growing problem in the community there were not a growing problem in the Prince Arthur.” Following allegations of drug trafficking in the pub and that a recent shooting was drugs-related, Mrs Coleman was determined to “put the record straight.”
She told The Citizen: “Of course a lot of people take drugs – wherever you go these days you will find a drug problem – and I can do nothing about what goes on outside the Prince Arthur, but if my husband or I see anything of that sort going on inside the pub we make sure we put a stop to it straight away. Accusations from certain residents about this pub are really hurtful and I am anxious to put the record concerning this straight.”
Mrs Coleman pointed out that early reports that a shooting outside the pub was about a drugs deal were proved wrong at a subsequent trial at Gloucester Crown Court. “It came out during the trail that the shooting was about money owed for a sofa,” she explained. “The sort of allegations that have been made about the pub have been affecting our trade. We’ve lost our music licence because of complaints by just one or two people and we have lost customers and staff.” Mrs Coleman said the Prince Arthur might not be the best pub in Gloucester “but it is certainly not the worse.”
The Citizen: Friday June 6th, 2003 – Owners call time on troubled city pub. By David Byers. A Gloucester city centre pub which found itself embroiled in residents’ concerns about drug use and gun crime is to be shut down. Enterprise Inns took the decision to sell the Prince Arthur pub, in Arthur Street, after police chiefs indicated the force would oppose any application for its landlord’s licence to be renewed. The pub was in the news on September 26th last year when a man fired a gun outside, shattering a window and damaging a parked car. A day later, angry Arthur Street residents packed a police community and consultative meeting complaining of drug-dealing, prostitution, drunkenness and rowdy behaviour in the street which were making living there “a nightmare”. Now – after holding a summit meeting with top county police officers – pub chain Enterprise Inns has informed landlord Rob Coleman it is putting the property up for sale. Mr Coleman’s lease is to be terminated and Enterprise Inns is to dispose of the pub, saying it was not providing a suitable community service.
In Arthur Street yesterday, residents said they were “relieved” that the pub was to close. A woman who owns flats in the street, and did not want to be identified said her tenants had reported “undesirable characters” in the street – leading to a number of fights. “I think the people I’ve spoken to here are quietly relieved,” she said. “There have been a couple of bad fights. Right outside this house, a person had their skull fractured. Undesirable looking characters often gather outside the pub and loud music blares down the street. I advertised my property and very few people responded. Arthur Street has a real stigma about it now.” And one resident – who has lived with his family in Arthur Street for 20 years said: “It never used to be like this. I brought my family up in this house. Now I’m thinking of leaving the area. When I go out, I prefer to walk the other way rather than go past that pub.” The shooting in the pub last September was the last straw for many residents.
Pub landlord Mr Coleman said: “All Enterprise Inns said to me was they’re looking for a buyer. I didn’t resign. They had a meeting with the police and told me they were looking for another buyer. That’s it.” Simon Townsend, a spokesman for Enterprise Inns, said: “The pub has been closed and is now marked for disposal by the company, as a de-licensed property. Pubs are an extremely valuable asset to their community – if they are seen to serve that community properly.”
The Citizen: January 28th, 2004 – Protest pub to be sold as a house. By Dennis Apperly: (edit) A city centre pub once at the centre of a storm of protest from neighbours is to be sold as a private house. The Prince Arthur Inn, described by estate agents as a “character property”, is set to finally call time after a storm of protest that began 18 months ago. Back then, angry and frightened residents of Arthur Street near Gloucester Park contacted The Citizen and demanded action at a heated public meeting. They complained that it had been a “living nightmare” for two years, with heroin and crack cocaine being sold outside the pub, young prostitutes plying their trade in the street outside, noisy drinkers spilling out over the pavements and illegally parked cars clogging up the road. There had even been a shooting outside the pub.
Enterprise Inns decided to sell the pub in June after police chiefs indicated the force would oppose any application for its landlord’s licence to be renewed. Pub landlord Mr Coleman said at the time: “All Enterprise Inns said to me was they’re looking for a buyer. I didn’t resign. They had a meeting with the police and told me they were looking for another buyer. That’s it.” Yesterday he added: “The pub is still open at the moment but it is in process of being sold. I do not have another pub to go to.”
A spokeswoman for estate agents Christie & Co. confirmed the sale of the former pub was imminent.
The Citizen: February 2nd, 2004 – City pub set become flats: A well known Gloucester pub is being sold for alternative use. The Prince Arthur Inn is a character property occupying a corner site close to the city centre. The Prince Arthur is located on the edge of a densely populated area and it is likely that the purchasers, a Middlesex based investment company, will consider converting the building to residential flats. Nicholas Caife of Christie & Co’s Bristol office, who handled the sale, said the deal was “very close to competition.”
Public Notice: Licensing Act 2003 Licensing Application. Pizza Hut: An application has been made by Capitalrange Limited to the Licensing Authority for Gloucester City for the grant of a Premises Licence for Pizza Hut at 47 Arthur Street, Gloucester. The application includes proposals to provide home delivery and pizza collection every day. Any person wishing to make representations concerning this application must give notice in writing by 24th November 2005.
The Citizen: July 19th, 2010 – Pizza Hut armed robbery: 3 arrests. By Freddie Whittaker: A gun was pulled on staff during an armed robbery at a Gloucester takeaway. Three men have been arrested on suspicion of robbery following the incident at Pizza Hut in Arthur Street shortly after midnight yesterday morning. Police were called to the shop after a report that armed robbers had got in. Store manager Esa Abdullah-Syed said: “I wasn’t here, but somebody came in to rob us, and he pointed a gun at my staff. We don’t know how much was taken yet, because we haven’t been able to do a report because of the forensic tests, but we will know soon. All the staff were fine. I’m shocked and I wasn’t even there – you get used to seeing that sort of thing on TV but now it’s happened to us.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Officers were called to the address shortly after midnight to reports that a man had gone to the shop and threatened a member of staff with what was described as a handgun before stealing an amount of cash. The three arrested, aged 18, 19 and 21 are currently helping police with their enquiries.