The Union Inn was situated at the bottom of Union Street near the London Road and last traded as the Market Tavern.  It is currently closed.

In about 1964 a Steak Barn restaurant was opened at the Union Inn. This later became the Zone – the pub’s music venue.

Local models at opening: These lovely ladies were models who graced the opening of the new Steak Barn restaurant at The Union Inn, Stroud in 1964.

Advertisement 1973


The Citizen, Wednesday 9th May 1984 – Stroud’s pelican island: Birds of a feather flock together, and that’s what seems to have happened with the pelicans in Stroud! The new town centre pedestrian crossings of that name were joined at the weekend by another new Pelican – the re-vamped and re-opened Pelican Inn.

The new look pub will also be happily settling down on its very own island, joked its new boss Mr Barry Hurley, who made his name running the Famous Pint Pot in Gloucester. “We’ll be left stranded by tarmac when the link road is finished but I’m full of confidence for the place,” he said. “I have always been determined to run a business of my own and judging by the crowds on our first night we’ve got the right atmosphere to attract customers.”

Promotion, June 1984

In January 1990 twenty fire fighters tackled a blaze at the Pelican Inn, but it was open for business again soon afterwards.

‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’, booklet by Gloucestershire CAMRA 1996.

The Citizen, 3rd December 1997 – New pub chef: The owner of former Kaz’s Café in Stroud is now dishing culinary meals at The Pelican Inn. Kaz Kirton has taken over as chef and is using some of the dishes from the café menus as well as old favourites at the pub including the Pelican steak breakfast

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 26th January 2000 – All change at The Pelican: Regulars in Stroud have said goodbye to one familiar face and welcomed a new bar manager on board. Robert ‘Rocky’ Whenray has left the Pelican, Union Street, Stroud after five years, the last two and a half of which he has been bar manager. After a leaving party in The Zone at The Pelican on Saturday, rocky has moved on to new pastures to work setting up a record company.

Taking his place is former Marling boy Rodda Thomas who is returning to Stroud after many years away, including time spent in Patagonia, Chile, working for a travel company. Rodda’s arrival at The Pelican coincides with a few changes and exciting events. Opening hours of The Zone, The Pelican’s music venue, are to be extended. The Zone, formerly open from 8.30pm to midnight will now be open from 10pm to 1am.

Rodda also plans to give mire young DJ’s an airing in The Zone and has a number of ideas for music events in the pipeline. “We will be trying all sorts of different things to bring in more people,” he said.

The Citizen, 8th March 2000 – Singing the praises of Spingo: A little piece of Cornwall came to Stroud with the Pelican’s Spingo weekend. Spingo is a beer brewed on the premises of the Blue Anchor, Helston. But Stroud punters were spared a trip of several hundred miles to sample its unique taste when Pelican manager Rodda Thomas persuaded the Blue Anchor landlord to let him have a few barrels. On Saturday and Sunday, 432 pints of Spingo Middle and the potent Spingo Special were pulled for Pelican customers.

The pub was decked in fishing nets and Cornish flags, staff served Cornish pasties and a boat was put in Union Street to create the ‘feel’ of a Cornish fishing village.

Stroud News & Journal, 1st November 2000 – ‘Peli’ is sold: A chapter in the life of a much-loved pub will come to an end tonight. The lease on The Pelican, more affectionally known as The Peli by regulars has been relinquished by landlord Andy Thomas.

Owners Courage have found another landlord for the unique town landmark which stands for individually and self-expression. Mr Thomas thanked customers for their support over the past 12 years. “It’s been a good time for me and for them,” he said. The new landlords move in on Thursday.

Stroud News & Journal, 24th October 2001 – Arrests follow pub raid: A major drugs raid was carried out on Stroud’s Pelican pub on Friday night, marking the first skirmish in the town’s new war against drugs. More than 60 police officers from across the county, including members of the Special Constabulary, were involved in the operation – code named Planet by the police. “The scale was larger than any drugs raid Stroud’s seen for some time,” said Chief Inspector Mark Organ.

“It was an intelligence-lead operation and it followed as the result of concerns expressed by both the public and police officers in Stroud. Research showed this was a very real and justified concern.”

Shortly before 9pm police entered through both public doorways simultaneously to stop anyone leaving. Of the 47 people present in the pub 18 were arrested including the licensee. Seven drinkers were also found to be under-age.

Police believe the substances seized were cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis which is yet to be confirmed by forensic analysis. Chief Inspector Organ said: “This was certainly not a one-off. The message is clear – we will not tolerate drugs in Stroud.”

The Citizen, Friday 18th January 2002 – Farewell to the man who brought music to the people: (by Victoria Temple) For a whole generation of Stroudies, Andy Thomas and The Pelican have acquired near legendary status. Andy Thomas was a pivotal figure in Stroud’s music and cultural life – this charismatic, private man with a public face who ran The Pelican which became THE place to be in Stroud for something a little different.

Andy died last week, aged just 43, after a long fight with cancer. He is survived by his wife Anne and children George, seven and five-year-old Aine.

As landlord of The Pelican on Union Street, and later The Golden Fleece on Nelson Street, he provided a focus and venue for the town’s alternative scene. The Pelican welcomed all kinds of acts to its back bar, which alternately functioned as a nightclub, theatre, cinema and venue for performing poetry. For nearly a decade, Andy provided the highlight of the year for many people. He was responsible for was to come the annual Stroud trip to the Glastonbury Festival. He would recruit a 100-strong army of willing Stroudies to join him in the mammoth operation of hosting major acts in the Acoustic Stage, a temporary venue in the middle of Somerset fields.

Andy battled his illness bravely during the last two years of his life, outliving all the predictions of his doctors. “He loved living,” said his wife Anne. “He wanted lots of things and didn’t have time for people wasting their lives. He gave people the chance to achieve something, to follow their dreams.”

Music in memory of Pelican landlord: Stroud’s premier band, Flipside, will be performing in the town’s Subscription Rooms on Friday, 1st March 2002, for a concert in memory of Andy Thomas, former landlord of The Pelican, who died in January.

Stroud News & Journal, 6th March 2002 – Pelican extinct: New landlords at Stroud’s Pelican pub have changed its name back to The Union. Despite its former rough-and-ready reputation, the town has always had a grudging affection for the “Pelly”.

Deputy manager Bevan Meehan told the News & Journal the team wanted a fresh start. “There’s too much stigma attached to the name of The Pelican. Now it’s got a totally different atmosphere, there’s different music and a different crowd,” he said. The Zone, the Pelican’s mini-nightclub in back bar, has gone for good and will be replaced by a pool club, due to open this week.

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 8th December 2004 – Pub assault led to curfew order: A man who punched a Stroud pub drinker in the face for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend has been sentenced to a four-month curfew. The man, aged 30, of Chapel Street, narrowly escaped an anti-social behaviour order at Stroud magistrates court on Friday after admitting assault. The incident happened in The Union pub on Friday, 3rd September just before 11pm.

The Citizen, 18th April 2005 – Pub fight bind-over: A 20-year-old Hardwicke man agreed to be bound over to keep the peace for his part in a New Year’s Eve pub brawl. He was one of a number of people arrested at the Union pub in Stroud. He was bound over in the sum of £100 for 12 months.

The Citizen, 18th October 2006 – Pub brawl spills into the street: Police were called after a brawl broke out at The Union pub, Stroud, on Friday night. The fight started in the garden at 10pm and spilled out into the street. two men were arrested and fined £80 for criminal damage after a window was smashed at the nearby travail employment branch. Officers are investigating the assault.

The Citizen, 27th December 2006 – Revamp for pub: The Union pub in Stroud is undergoing a complete revamp after being taken over by the owners of two other town pubs. Dale Nicholl, who owns the British Oak, and his father John, who owns the Kings Head in Rodborough, say the building will still be unrecognisable. There will be bars, a lounge room and restaurant, and by Easter the pub will host live bands and DJ’s at the weekend. Dale, 33, said the front bar will have a traditional feel, with have a traditional feel, wooden floors and beams, while the late licence bar will be more modern.

August 2006 – The Union Inn

Stroud News & Journal, 21st March 2007 – Focus on the Market Tavern (advertisement): You will all have hear of the Union or the Pelican in Stroud, but this building has undergone a complete facelift, has a new attitude and has been renamed as The Market Tavern.

The Market Tavern is a traditional family-run pub which prides itself on traditional home cooked food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. All of our freshly cooked meals are expertly prepared from nothing but the finest range of locally farmed produce. Available from Thursday to Sunday will be a carvery so now you will be able to enjoy a traditional Sunday roast four days a week.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the pub is open until 1am and we adopt a challenge 21 policy and are a strictly over 18’s establishment. Coming soon is the launch of our new pub/club3sixty, which is opening in May. 3sixty will be open Thursday to Sunday with a mix of resident DJ’s and live bands.

The Citizen, 24th December 2008 – Tavern offers some prize pies: The Market Tavern in Union Street, Stroud, has extended its menu to offer a full range of award-winning pies. Delivered direct from Bristol-based supplier Pieminister, including two limited edition festive pies customers can enjoy a pie with a choice of mash for £6.50.

The Citizen, 23rd December 2009 – Closed pub to get a new life: An empty county pub is set to be given a new lease of life after being sold to a mystery buyer. The Market Tavern, in Union Street, Stroud, which closed in the summer, could be open again by Easter. Now a poster advertising customers the pub will re-open, has sparked speculation on what the pub might become.

The Citizen, 24th December 2010 – £300k facelift tavern reopens: popular Stroud pub the Market Tavern has reopened after a £300,000 facelift. The hostelry in Union Street has been totally refurbished “from top to bottom” in a 15-month project. New landlord Martin Jones previously lived in Wotton-under-Edge for five years before moving to South Wales. He has now been asked to lead the project by Market Tavern owners Indigo Taverns. The pub, which has been given a fresh paint job, opened its doors again last week.

Stroud News & Journal, 29th December 2010 – MP expresses delight to see historic inn back in business: Neil Carmichael paid a visit to Stroud’s newly refurbished Market Tavern pub and said he was delighted to see the historic inn back in business recently. “Many will know I am passionate about supporting local pubs,” said Neil. “I was delighted to see the new investment in the Market Tavern and I hope it goes from strength to strength.”

Enjoy Live Music – A new venue for Stroud will be hosting acts and DJ’s during the Fringe Festival. Part of the Market Tavern, Cha Cha Dum Dum will specifically cater for music fans after the main stage at the Stroud Fringe finishes at 10pm on the Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday 1st September 2012, Cha Cha Dum Dum will feature a Global Beats Saturday Special with the All Stars dub band Roots, Rockers playing classic 1970’s reggae and ska with a six-piece brass section and dreamy hammond piano.

The Citizen, 3rd July 2014 – Pub could become new supermarket: Another supermarket could be on the cards in Stroud town centre. The owner of the Cornhill Shopping Centre has bought the adjoining Market Tavern pub – and wants to redevelop it as a superstore. Property agents Montgomery Watton confirmed there is no threat to the future of Stroud Farmers’ Market, which is held weekly in the Cornhill Shopping Centre and Union Street, although it could be remodelled to join with a new supermarket where the Market Tavern stands.

Andrew Watton, of agents Montgomery Watton, said the proposal is at an early stage but the new owner wants to reinforce the trading pitch of Union Street. Despite a revamp, the pub struggled and was shut and put up for sale earlier this year. Lottie Lyster, landlady of the Prince Albert pub on Rodborough Hill, which is well known for its live acts, said it should continue as a pub.

“It has failed but, with the right ownership and management, it could succeed again,” she said. “Stroud is in need of another, successful, busy venue supplying arts and music, good beer and food to the people of the town. The last thing we want in Stroud is another supermarket – we must support our independent traders in the town.”

Stroud News & Journal, Wednesday 23rd July 2014 – Pub and restaurant sold to an investor: The sale of the Market Tavern in Stroud has now been confirmed after competitive bidding. The property sold in excess of the guide price on Tuesday 15th July. Leisure property specialist, Fleurets, concluded the sale of the pub. It represents the prominent building at the entrance to Stroud town centre. Fluerets marketed the freehold, which includes two bars, gardens and large private accommodation.

After competitive bidding, it sold for in excess of the guide price of £350,000. The Market Tavern was sold to an investor who will retain the property and look at the various options the opportunity presents.

Stroud News & Journal, 1st October 2014 – New store decision deferred until March: The outcome of Stroud store wars will remain undecided until March next year. Members of Stroud District Council’s development committee unanimously voted to defer their decision on three supermarket applications for Stroud at a special meeting on Tuesday 23rd September. The decision to defer was made after the council’s solicitor and officers said that a late proposal to turn the Market Tavern into a supermarket had to be considered in relation to the three other applications.

Although an application had not been submitted, it was agreed by officers that plans to turn the Market Tavern in Union Street, Stroud, into a food store needed to be taken into consideration in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework.

During the meeting Andrew Watton, who was speaking on behalf of the Market Tavern application, told councillors that if the plans were successful a food store at the site would be open by Christmas 2017.

The Citizen, 6th January 2022 – Arson probe as pair seen running from fire: Two people were seen running from a burning building in Stroud this week, police say. Gloucestershire police are now appealing for witnesses to a suspected arson on Monday.

Gloucestershire Police said in a statement: “The incident took place at the Market Tavern on Union Street around 9.15pm and it is understood that two unknown males had been seen running from a disused building which was on fire.”

July 2023

Stroud Times (online), 3rd April 2023 – Civic Society opposes plans to demolish Stroud pub:

Stroud Civic Society has come out strongly against proposals to demolish the Market Tavern in Union Street and replace it with a bleak plaza exposed to the traffic on both London Road and Cornhill, writes Tim Mars.

“Has someone taken leave of their senses?” expostulated Stroud Civic Society chair, Juliet Shipman. “Not only is the Market Tavern, which the developer is proposing to demolish, in the Central Stroud Town Conservation area, but it is listed as a Local Heritage Asset by Stroud Town Council. It is also immediately opposite a Grade-II listed building, Frome House (now a dentist’s surgery), and close to the attractive redbrick Baptist Church Hall, which is also listed as a local heritage asset.

“This proposal is located in a key part of one of Stroud’s most attractive and interesting streets. Moreover, the Market Tavern plays a key role in one of the most famous views in Stroud, frequently used to advertise its historic charms. From the top of Union Street the visitor can gaze out past the Ale House, the Baptist Church Hall, the columns fronting Cornhill Market and the flank of the Market Tavern to the green slope of Rodborough Hill beyond. Why ruin one of the streets that contributes so much to the character of Stroud’s historic townscape?”

The response to Stroud Town Council’s consultation exercise about the developer’s three options is overwhelmingly negative, both about the quality of the proposed new buildings and the new ‘gateway’ plaza, but above all about the proposal to demolish the existing building in the first place. “Why tear down a beautiful period building? Stroud is a small market town and this proposal could be anywhere. It would be an enormous shame to destroy the characterful building that is clearly “of its place” with these generic shoeboxes.”

“The existing building is a beautiful structure with a mix of neatly dressed stone and rubble stone walls that have evolved over the years. The sash windows, chimneys and details such as the old-school road sign lend it real character. I really value the current building and would be saddened to see it destroyed and replaced with this pile of boxes. The existing building should be repaired and restored.”

“The town’s existing historic architecture forms part of the attraction for visitors. The farmer’s market would be best served by a London Road closure on market days and would be helped by opening up the former pub garden as an open space, facing Union Street, which would then be separated from the road. The existing pub building should be preserved. Keep it as is, the building is lovely and the density and character of the town centre should be preserved! But renovate it, we need more pubs in the town centre anyway.”

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: John Laidlaw (free from brewery tie)

Rateable value in 1891: £35.5s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903:  Ind Coope & Co., Burton on Trent

Rateable value in 1903: £51.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 11pm

Owners in 2000: Courage

Landlords include:

1885,1891 John Laidlaw

1902 John Thomas Owen

1903 Henry Robert Peters

1906 Maslin Smith

1919,1939 Leonard James Phelps

1960’s – Neil Prenter (Neil was an Irish jockey)

1976 Alan Goddard (manager)

1988-2000 Andy Thomas (In 2000 Andy was also the licensee of the Golden Fleece)

2006 Dale Nicholl (licensee of the British Oak)

2009 Dave Nichol and Lynsey Webster (Market Tavern)

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