The Spa Inn was once an isolated ‘country’ pub in Oldends Lane half a mile to the east of Stonehouse, selling beer from Smith’s Brimscombe Brewery. In 1903 the pub called ‘last orders’ at 10 pm – there must have been a mass migration to the pubs in the town that stayed open an hour longer.
An inventory of the property owned by the Stroud Brewery Company in 1928 listed the Spa Inn with ‘orchard and 9 cottages at Oldends.’ In the 1970’s it was a nondescript Whitbread pub.
It was acquired by Wadworth of Devizes in 1991 and in 2006 had a major refurbishment.
The Citizen, 26th October 2001 – Ghost in their house: Peter and Barbara Hunniford had no idea they were moving in to run their first pub with a couple of mischievous ghosts. But as well as contending with frothy pints and perfecting home-made recipes the first-time landlords also have to deal with phantom activities and furniture that moves by itself.
But Peter and Barbara, who took over the Spa Inn six weeks ago and have no experience of pubs or ghosts, have yet to meet the dancing ghost in their back garden. The couple, from Southampton, had hoped running a pub would be a stress-free career move, but said they hadn’t bargained on the ghosts. And their nerves have not been improved by their regular customers who take great delight in regailing the couple with the pub’s ghost stories.
They first began to suspect the 16th century pub had other-wordly residents when they looked around it earlier this year and the old landlady shared her experiences. Barbara said: “A friend who looked around the pub with us asked the estate agents if there were ghosts because the pub was old. I said I didn’t want to know but the landlady told us someone had seen a girl dancing in the garden while she had been there.
Stroud News & Journal, 3rd July 2002 – All bikers welcome: A motorcycle club for all bikers has started in Stonehouse and welcomes new members. Stroud & Stonehouse Motorcycle Club meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at The Spa Inn, Stonehouse.
Stroud News & Journal, 4th September 2002 – Motorcyclists are to hold an open day: A motorcycle club will hold an open day at the Spa Inn, Oldens, Stonehouse on Saturday 14th September. Starting at 12pm, the event will include karaoke, an adult bouncy castle, barbeque and an evening DJ. Entrance will cost £1 and all money will go to Children in Need.
Stroud News & Journal, 10th November 2004 – Regulars shell out to watch snails: Racing snails zoomed away from the traps to help regulars at a Stonehouse pub shell out for children’s charity the Pied Piper Appeal on Thursday. Cheered on by customers and staff, the lettuce-munching thoroughbreds inched along the track in an evening of sluggish fun at the Spa Inn, Oldens Lane. “It has been very good fun,” said Spa landlady Barbara Hunniford. “Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves and I think we will definitely do it again.”
Together with a post-race auction, the slow-paced gambling raised more than £80 towards the appeal, which raises cash for the new children’s ward at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Stroud Life, Wednesday 14th April 2010 – ‘Save the local’ feature by Robin Brooks: Sue Tyler took over as licensee of the Spa Inn in Oldens Lane, Stonehouse, with her husband Clive just six weeks ago. It was a change of career for the couple, who are originally from Oxfordshire and they’ve been delighted with the warm welcome they have received from locals. “The support has been great,” said Sue. “Trade is picking up nicely and people must like the food as they keep on coming back for more.”
Sue cooks almost everything that appears on the menu herself in the pub’s own kitchen. “I’d describe it as no nonsense, home-cooked food,” said Sue. “Things like steak and ale pie, fish and chips, lasagne, chilli, the kind of things that make your mouth water when you walk into a pub and see them on the blackboard.” Food is served every lunchtime and evening, with the exception of Monday evenings.”
The pub has a long history and you’ll find the story on the wall in the snug bar. It takes its name from a saline well that was commercially exploited in the early 19th century. By 1840 the inn was in business as a beer house and was once owned by the now long-gone Brimscombe Brewery. Today, the house is tied to Wadworth’s and you’ll always find four cask ales on tap.
Sue and Clive are working hard to give customers what they want, which is why they’ve started having live music on Friday nights. “One thing we’ve inherited is the quiz night on the last Sunday of every month,” said Sue. “It’s well established and has a big following, that’s always a good night.”
Stroud District Council. Planning application, 29th May 2013: Mr Lloyd Stephens, Spa Inn, Oldens Lane, Stonehouse – change of use of public house to a single dwelling and erection of two pairs of semi-detached dwellings on the existing car park.
Stroud Life, Wednesday 5th June 2013 – Brewery aiming to turn ailing pub into homes: Protests are beginning over plans to turn the Spa Inn into housing. A handful of letters objecting to the loss of the pub in Oldends Lane, Stonehouse, have already landed on the desks of Stroud District Council planners. A resident is threatening to launch a petition to try to save the pretty Cotswold stone inn and Stonehouse mayor Councillor Chris Brine has decried the loss the loss of the community facility.
But specialist surveyor and licensed properties’ valuer John Williams said: “The outlook for improving trade at The Spa is bleak. Mr Williams, employed by the Spa’s owner Wadworths, said: “Its location in the middle of a large industrial / distribution estate is extremely poor. At one time this business might have expected to draw lunchtime and early evening custom from those working on the estate.” Mr Williams said, nowadays, staff were not permitted to drink at lunchtime and there was no realistic prospect of attracting customers from a wider area. “The Spa will never be a destination house,” he said.
Wadworths is proposing to turn The Spa into a house and build two pairs of semis in the grounds. But Councillor Brine said he was “very concerned” about losing another pub in Stonehouse. And protester Jeffrey Smith, from nearby Festival Road, said there would be few pubs left for a growing Stonehouse population. “I will be raising a petition against this,” Mr Smith said.
Stroud Life, 4th September 2013 – Neighbours raise a glass to Spa petition: Campaigners say they have more than 500 names on their petition to save the Spa Inn from being turned into housing. Retired teacher John Lavin, 62, is among a group collecting the signatures to try to stop owners Wadworth from converting the pub in Oldens Lane, Stonehouse, into a house and building four more in its grounds.
“If all 500 people went into the pub and spent £10 we wouldn’t have a problem,” Wadworth tenanted trade director Lloyd Stephens said. He said that since 1996 eight tenants had all failed to provide a realistic level of income at The Spas, which was poorly situated within an industrial estate.
But Mr Lavin, who lives in nearby Boakes Drive, said: “We believe there is enough interest and desire in the community to see that the pub has a future. We have had more than 500 signatures so far.” Mr Lavin added: “It is places like this where people meet. It is a community hub.”
The development control committee of Stroud District Council recently deferred its decision about the Spa housing proposals. That was after members decided they wanted to know more about how Wadworth had tried to market The Spa before deciding it was no longer viable.
Stroud News & Journal, 16th October 2013 – Regulars given the chance to run pub as a co-operative: Regulars have been offered the chance to run a pub which is threatened with closure. A planning application to turn the Spa Inn in Oldens Lane, Stonehouse into five dwellings was deferred by Stroud District Council’s planning department in August to allow Wadworth Brewery time to provide further information concerning the viability of the pub.
After the deferral Wadworth, offered Stonehouse Town Council, or a nominee, a rent-free tenancy agreement for 12 months. However at a meeting in September, the town council agreed to defer the offer until it had more information about the tenancy agreement. Members of the town council have since met with representatives from Wadworth to discuss a potential tenancy agreement. Town clerk Gill Jennings explained: “After the meeting with representatives from Wadworth the town council was told the brewery would wait until the November planning meeting to re-submit a planning application. However, the town council received a letter last month which stated Wadworth had been advised by a planning consultant to appeal on the grounds of non-determination which means that the application might go through on a technicality”
At a meting on Monday 7th October the town council was expected to decide whether it would support an application by a resident to become tenant of the pub or not if it was deemed there was “too much risk” attached to the Wadworth tenancy. A third option was also suggested to invite members of the community to come forward and purchase the Spa Inn as a co-operative pub.
The council agreed to defer the decision again to give a community group the opportunity to come forward and purchase the pub. “This means that interested parties buy shares in the co-operative, do their own fundraising and purchase the pub,” explained Mrs Jennings. Also at the meeting the council agreed it would consider becoming a share-holder if it deemed there was “sufficient interest” from the community.
The inn is now closed as a result of the pub’s septic tank being turned off.
The Citizen, 30th October 2013 – Brewers fight to close Spa rumbles on: Brewers have appealed against planners’ refusal to allow the closure of the Spa Inn at Stonehouse. Owners Wadworth were turned down when they applied to the Stroud District Council local planning authority for permission to turn the pub into housing and put four more homes in the grounds.
But now the company has lodged an appeal, which will be dealt with by way of written representations and a site visit by a government inspector. People’s views have to be sent in by November 14th. Among them will be the comments of the Save Our Spa campaigners. The group earlier raised a 500 name petition to stop the development and spokesman John Lanvin said then: “It is a community hub, we believe the pub has a future.”
Wadworth, however, have repeatedly demonstrated The Spa was no longer viable. “There is no prospect of continued community use and there are adequate alternative facilities to cater for the needs of the community,” its spokesman said. The appeal has been lodged after the council failed to decide about the matter within the time limit.
Gloucester Citizen, Wednesday 12th February 2014 – Pub will become housing: Brewer Wadworth has won its fight to turn a Stonehouse pub into housing. The company went to appeal for permission to turn The Spa in Oldens Lane into a private house and to build two pairs of semi-detached dwellings on the car park.
Appeal inspector Simon Hand has just announced his decision and said the main issue had been whether there was a realistic chance of the pub remaining open. Wadworths said all along that The Spa, which is surrounded by an industrial estate, was no longer viable.
But people earlier raised a 500 name petition to save The Spa as a hub for their community. Mr Hand has also awarded full costs against Stroud District Council for failing to determine the application within set time scales.
Rateable Value in 1891: £13.10s.0d.
Owner in 1891: Smith & Sons, Brimscombe Brewery
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Rateable Value in 1903: £18.10s.0d.
Owner in 1903: Smith & Sons, Brimscombe Brewery
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Owner in 1919,1928: Stroud Brewery Company
Landlords at the Spa Inn include:
1891 Edward Uzzell
1903 Henry Clayfield
1939 Frederick John Baker
1951-1961Reginald and Gwen Reynolds (moved to the Globe Inn)
2001,2004 Peter and Barbara Hunniford
2010 Sue and Clive Tyler