After a long period of closure and a threat of demolition to enable neighbouring supermarket Safeway / Morrisons to construct a petrol station on the site, the Ridge & Furrow has now re-opened.
This page will be updated with additional information.
The Citizen: July 23rd, 1982 – Burgled: A new Gloucester public house, the Ridge & Furrow, Abbeydale, which has not been opened yet, was burgled yesterday and property worth £1,180 stolen. Among the items taken were a video recorder, colour TV, music centre, cassette player and tapes.
The Citizen: Monday May 28th, 1984. Miracle saved us, say pub blaze pair. Article by Simon Harwood. Pub licensees Peter and Maureen Dutfield believe a miracle saved them from the fire that ripped through the Ridge & Furrow at Abbeydale on Saturday afternoon. The two-year old pub that cost £250,000 was almost completely wrecked and will have to be virtually rebuilt. An amazing coincidence saved the Dutfields from the fire which spread quickly through the roof space above the bar. Peter Dutfield was alerted by the sound of running water above the couple’s flat at the back of the pub. He went downstairs to find dense smoke in the bar and immediately called the fire brigade.
Later the couple were told by a plumber assessing damage that the water they heard had nothing to do with the fire. As overflow waterpipe which had been faultily connected had broken open – in a completely separate incident to the fire which started elsewhere. “It was an absolute miracle in a chapter of accidents and bad luck here,” said Maureen Dutfield. Twice the Ridge & Furrow has been burgled and in August last year its nearest neighbour, Safeway Superstores, was badly damaged by a huge fire. The latest blaze will put the pub, owned by the brewery Courage out of action for months. Mrs Dutfield said: “I estimate it will be at least two months, possibly longer. The building is very unsafe.”
The Dutfields, along with other staff, will be paid basic wages by the brewery but there will be no bonuses or catering money. The fire came at just the wrong time with summer approaching and a busy week anticipated. Safeway and other neighbouring businesses have offered to store valuable articles from the pub which has now been completely cleared.
Police are warning people to keep well away from the building which is very dangerous: “There is nothing left to steal and only your lives to lose,” said a spokesman. The flat above the cellar behind the Ridge & Furrow is still habitable and from there Maureen Dutfield said she would like to thank everyone who has offered help.
A fire brigade spokesman congratulated his firemen who fought a ‘very difficult fire.’ He said: “This sort of blaze in a roof is always difficult. It is a problem to get to and the structure becomes very unstable.” Three pumps and breathing apparatus were used and the blaze was under control in just over half an hour. He said it was believed the fire either originated in the roof space above the bar or in the serving area below. Arson had been ruled out.
The Tippler reported in December 1982 that ‘Abbeydale’s own local pub, the Ridge and Furrow, was opened recently and is selling Courage Best Bitter and Directors Bitter by handpumps as real beer.’
The Citizen: September 12th, 1997 – City pub wins a reprieve: Locals at the Ridge & Furrow, Abbeydale, were celebrating today because fears that their pub was to be demolished have been scotched. The regulars were even planning a petition as they believed supermarket Safeway, which owns the site of the pub, planned to pull it down. The superstore, which owns the Glevum Shopping Centre site, has already closed down some small retail units there, including a newsagents and dry cleaners. There were rumours that the Ridge & Furrow, which is the only pub in Abbeydale, was to be pulled down and a petrol station built as part of Safeway’s expansion of the site. Pub regulars and staff were planning to organise a petition to keep the pub open.
Landlord Paul Horlock said: “There have been rumours locally but Safeway have told me that there are no current plans to demolish the pub. There has been a question mark over the future of the pub bit it is safe at the moment.” Mr Horlock said that the area needed a decent pub like the Ridge & Furrow and it would be a shame to close it down. He said: “We do a good trade and this is a very popular pub.”
Former city mayor Archie Hartshorne, a regular for more than 15 years, said: “I am obviously delighted my local is staying open and now I hope the brewery do something about the furnishings and the building.”
Safeway press officer Peter Stich confirmed: “We have no plans to demolish the Ridge & Furrow. There is no need as we have plenty of land to achieve our objectives for the Abbeydale store.” Barnwood councillor Tony Hanks said it would have been disastrous to close the Ridge & Furrow: “In any event, Safeway would have to apply for planning permission.”
The Citizen: September 12th, 1997 – Comment. Bev Ward, Deputy Editor: Residents in Abbeydale are quite rightly relieved to hear that they are not losing their pub. For many it is the main entertainment in the area and like Abbeydale and other city suburbs the local pub is the only focal point for people. The loss of the Ridge & Furrow would have meant Abbeydale and Abbeymead, an area with the same population as Cirencester, being left with only one pub and a community centre to serve thousands of people. It is the same old story, another suburb community continuing to grow and outstripping any form of leisure facilities. Rumours had been circulating in Abbeydale that local supermarket Safeway was going to build a filling station on the site as part of its expansion. And it is heartening to hear the store has no plans to deprive the locals of their popular local.
The Citizen: February, 24th 1999: by Julia Etherington: A husband and wife team new to Gloucester are set to turn an Abbeydale pub into a place for the whole community to enjoy. Leyton and Sarah Ansell, from Cardiff, are keen to change the image of the Ridge & Furrow and make it more family orientated. The couple previously ran a Swansea pub for two years but say they wanted a fresh move. “We felt we had taken our old pub as far as it could go and wanted a new challenge,” said Mr Ansell (47). “We have been into town and the area is very nice. The customers have all been brilliant and we have had a warm, friendly welcome to Gloucester.” The Ansells say one of their main projects will be to attract families back into the Scottish & Newcastle Brewery pub, which has a restaurant that seats more than 40 people. Mrs Ansell (46), said: “We want to introduce families back into the pub and are making a children’s menu called the King Cranky. “There is a mixed range of customers who use the pub, from 18-year-olds to OAP’s, and we will also be thinking about a skittles team and darts in the winter.”
And a bigger change could be in the pipeline, according to Mr Ansell. “We are led to believe from Scottish & Newcastle that there is a possibility of some sort of refurbishment next year, but we don’t want it to change altogether,” he said. The six members of part-time kitchen, bar and cleaning staff as well as a handy-man have been kept on to help Mr and Mrs Ansell run the Ridge & Furrow.
The Citizen: July 20th, 2002: by David Thomas: When he took over the Ridge & Furrow in March last year, Steve Luckett knew he had a job on his hands. The Abbeydale pub had a bad reputation, and takings were dropping. Now, just 15 months later, the pub is back on its feet, takings have quadrupled and Steve is celebrating an award for the best new pub tenant in the South West. He was awarded £500 worth of Thomas Cook vouchers as his prize, and will be jetting off to Tunisia to celebrate next week. Steve said: “The pub had quite a bad reputation a few years ago, and I had to change that straight away. As I was coming down from Painswick Golf Club, I already knew a lot of people in the area, and obviously they knew me. I also had a good reputation for food and that was an area I wanted to improve here. We redecorated the pub and then started to introduce things like a carvery on a Sunday, and live music on a Thursday evening. We also introduced the curry nights on Wednesdays , when we have an all-you-can-eat night for £5, with four curries to choose from, and starters included as well.” He said: “It is nice to have been acknowledged for the work I have done here. It has got so busy now that I have actually taken on a full-time chef as it was getting too much to do the food and run the pub on my own. The police are pleased with the way things have improved, and we are now getting very involved with the local community. The job is all about getting on with and talking to people, that is what seems to make the difference.”
The Citizen: February 2nd, 2005 – Abbeydale. We’re pub of the year! The Ridge & Furrow at Abbeydale has been named England’s community pub of the year. The Glevum Way pub beat off competition from 500 other public houses that are all members of the Trust Inns Group. It won the title of Best Community Local because of its family-friendly atmosphere, its charity work and the range of events it offers for the community. Landlord Stephen Luckett, 42, and landlady Wendy Watkins, 43, have been praised by the company for turning around the pub in the last few years and making it a place where everyone is welcome. “The atmosphere on a Saturday night is for families up to 80-years old and beyond,” said Mr Luckett. “We’ve had Neighbourhood Watch meetings in here, ramblers’ meetings and lots of senior citizens come in. We’ve been trying to involve the community – the pub has held racing nights where we’ve raised £2,000 and at New Year we raised £550 for the Citizen’s Tsunami appeal. It’s a good ward to win when we’ve got so much going on.”
As well as the prestigious title Stephen and Wendy have won holiday vouchers and a crystal decanter. “Steve and the team from the Ridge & Furrow thoroughly deserved to win this award for all their hard work over recent years,” said business development manager Dave Hussey from Trust Inns. “The local pub has always been more than just to enjoy a quick pint. This award recognizes the licensees who have made a valuable contribution to their community through charity fund-raising or significant community involvement.”
The Citizen: February 16th, 2009 – Fury over gossip pub is shutting, by Freddie Whittaker: The landlord of a Gloucester pub says his business has been damaged by rumours that it is closing down. Steve and Wendy Luckett, who run the Ridge & Furrow in Glevum Way, Abbeydale, say they first heard gossip about its closure in November. Steve said: “I’ve had customers coming in and asking if it was true, but it’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’ve asked the brewery a few times, but they say there’s no truth in it. People think it’s going to be knocked down and they’re going to build a petrol station, but nothing’s gone through the planning procedure. It’s hard enough for pubs in this current economic climate, without rumours flying around that we are closing.”
Steve, 46, has had the pub on the market for more than a year, but wants to assure his customers there’s no chance of him leaving any time soon. He said: “The pub’s here to stay. I’ve been racking my brains to think of where the rumours could have come from. I’ve been here for nine years, and I don’t want people to think we’re going.”
The pub, which is situated in Glevum Way, is famous for its live music nights and lively atmosphere. Abbey city and county councillor Andrew Gravells said: “This is a really popular and local pub in the heart of Abbeydale and everybody would be very sorry to see it close down. I’m glad to hear there’s no substance to these rumours. None of us have a clue where they come from.”
Morrisons, who have a supermarket in nearby Heron Way say they are not planning to build a petrol station on the land. A spokesman said: “We have no plans to buy this land.” Steve wants his regular customers and infrequent visitors to rest assured they are still open for business, and taking bookings for functions throughout this year including Christmas.
The Citizen: September 29th, 2012 – Time is called at much-loved pub, by Nick Webster: Pub landlord Steve Luckett is “heartbroken and shattered” after discovering his 13-year lease at the Ridge & Furrow is being ripped up. Steve, 49, found out he was losing his job and his home in a short phone call from pub bosses at Trust Inns. The company has given Steve and his family six months to leave the much-loved Abbeydale watering hole after deciding to hand back a long-term lease to land-owners Morrisons. Speculation in the community is now rife that long-standing rumours of a petrol station being built on the site are now nearing reality. The family inn has become a focal point for the community in the last decade, winning several awards in that time. “This pub has been my baby, the support I have had from people has brought me to tears,” said Steve. “Thousands of people use the pub every week. We have wakes, christenings, engagement parties and birthdays here – it will be missed.”Morrisons denied it was planning to take on the site in 2009.
“The brewery has said it is handing the lease back to Morrisons because the rent had become too expensive,” said Steve. “If they offer it to me, there is no way I could afford it so thy will do what they want with the site.”
Councillor Gordon Taylor, (C. Abbey) said: “It is the only pub you can walk to around here. It would be a big loss.” Councillor Andrew Gravells (C. Abbey) said: “This pub is an Abbey institution., the news came out of the blue. I am in discussions with Morrisons to find out what their plans are for the site and what people in the community think of their proposals.”
Ray Peart has been a regular drinker there for the last 13 years. He said: “Steve has turned the pub round from a drug den into the heart of the community. He has done a brilliant job, where will we go now?”
Trust Inns and Morrisons were unavailable for comment.
The Citizen. Letters. August 17th, 2013: Pub should be the priority – I think having a community pub serving the locals is far more important than yet another petrol station. Morrisons should realise that they will alienate their own customers if they proceed and they may lose more than they gain. Ted Bennett, via email.
Phone: 01452 500012
Owners in 1999: Scottish & Newcastle Breweries
Owners in 2005: Trust Inns
12984 Peter and Maureen Dutfield
1997,1998 Paul Horlock
1999 Leyton and Sandra Ansell
2001 Steve Luckett
2005 Steve Luckett and Wendy Watkins.
2009 Steve and Wendy Luckett (Landlord) and Neil Perkins (General Manager)