Woolaston Inn, Brookend (original building south side of A48)
The inn, on the south side of the main road to the east of Brookend on the corner of Station Road, was originally known as the Dukes Head. It had a brief spell as the Queens Head in the 1850’s, but the name had changed to the Woolaston Inn by 1863.
The annual rateable value of the Woolaston Inn in 1891 and 1903 was £16.5s.0d. It was licensed as an ale house and closed at 10 pm.
The Gloucester based brewery Gardner & Branch (Crown Brewery, St Marys Street) owned the Woolaston Inn in 1891. This was probably their furthest outlet from the brewery. The business was acquired by Ind Coope & Co. of Burton on Trent in 1895. It seems that Ind Coope then sold the Woolaston Inn to the Stroud Brewery Company. It was in their estate in 1926.
Major P.J.Bradley, M.C. T.D., was given the title of ‘Outside Manager’ when he worked for the Stroud Brewery. He presided at the Woolaston Inn Darts Club Dinner in June 1951, no doubt holding the esteemed position of Outside Manager he enjoyed a prestigious and extremely important position within the hierarchy of management at the brewery. Stating the blindingly obvious he told the darts club diners, “The village pub helps in no small way to peace and happiness in this country, if unfortunately, we have not international peace.”
In 1961 the license of the Woolaston Inn was transferred to a new building, presumably built by the Stroud Brewery, on the northern side of the road. The original Woolaston Inn is now a private residence called Brookend House.
Landlords at the ‘old’ Woolaston Inn include:
1851 Martha Tamplin (aged 60 in the 1851 census, listed as innkeeper of unnamed property)
1856 Richard Tamplin (Queens Head)
1876 Charles Rowland
1885 Charles Edwards
1891 Frederick Anderson
1903,1919 Henry Clutterbuck
1935,1939 Bert Pyne
Woolaston Inn, Brookend (new building, north side of A48)
The Woolaston Inn was built by the Stroud Brewery Company in 1963? (Citizen 16.08.1985) (or 1961 according to original source) Ownership later passed to West Country Breweries and then, presumably to Whitbread.
In August 1985 the Woolaston Inn reopened after a £40,000 face-lift. The alterations included a split-level bar and a revamped fast food kitchen.
Forest of Dean & Ross-on-Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): A large roadside inn exulting in the new broom treatment. New management have taken the old place by the scruff of the neck, and with brewery money have transformed it into an attractive pub with new furniture, carpets and a plethora of prints which now adorn spacious walls. Vivaldi provided the up market music. A raised area one end of the large lounge has a brick built log fire and it is a cosy corner on a winters night. The menu is dependable with care taken in preparation of fish and steaks plus a variety of snacks. Every day there is a “speciality” on the blackboard and the wine list, though unimaginative and brewery inspired, contains a few popular bottles of blanc et rouge. A back bar buzzed with reps making excuses to nervous managers as they tucked into some very wholesome looking grub. Usual Whitbread’s beers. A useful pub, yet another good one on this golden route from Lydney to Chepstow. Pull in next time with confidence.
The Woolaston Inn had closed for a number of years when it was bought and re-opened as a free house by Lydney entrepreneur Dean James in 2005.
The Woolaston Inn was an all-day carvery in 2006 but also hosted outside music events. In the summer of 2006 around 35 residents living near the pub on the A48 complained about noise claiming that it had spoilt their quality of life at home. There were also concerns that drivers attending the events had parked dangerously outside the main road. A resident said, “Over the last three bank holidays they’ve had quite loud events which have caused excessive noise. It’s a quiet rural area which people have chosen to settle in and the Woolaston Inn has started these events with no regard for the residents.” Speaking for Gloucestershire police a spokesman said that they were only able to respond to crime and disorder which did not apply to these events and parking on grass verges created a potential hazard but was not illegal.
Enterprise Inns acquired the Woolaston Inn in April 2008. The property was being offered on a lease for a term of between five and 25 years with a tie on drinks products. The Pub Company sought a rent of £40,000 a year, rising to £60,000 in the second year with the proviso that it was subject to RPI and a formal rent review after five years. It was described as a substantial detached property set within about one acre constructed in the 1960’s which has gone refurbishment to provide ample trade areas and nine constructed en-suite letting rooms.
In April 2009 the Woolaston Inn was being run by Becci Staniland and her partner Dan Adams. They appointed a new chef, Patrick Carney, who had previously worked with celebrity cooks Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. Becci said, “He is absolutely amazing, we’ve had to change our whole menu since he took over because he’s too good just to be cooking pub grub.” The new menu secured locally sourced food that included slow-roasted belly of pork, pot roasted lamb and mouth-watering deserts such as berry-infused crème brulee. However, just a few months later (July 2009) a new chef was serving faggots and mash with peas. There was a curry and a pint for £5.95 every Wednesday and Fishy Friday, home-made chips and peas for £6.95. An ‘eating out’ review described the pub as ‘modern and clean with two large leather sofas and bar stools scattered around and next to the bar is a games room and doors that open out to an outdoor seating area.’
By the end of the year the Woolaston Inn had changed hands again. Trinidadian chef Ivor De Lloyd brought a flavour of the Caribbean to the Forest of Dean. Ivor had previously worked as a personal chef for a billionaire in Mustique where he also cooked for celebrities including Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain. Launched as Caribe at the Woolaston Inn in November 15th 2009 it featured authentic Caribbean cuisine such as jerk chicken, fish baked in banana leaves and calypso pork along with a range of cocktails. Ivor said, “I think now is a great time to open a Caribbean restaurant. With Levi roots’ cookery programmes on TV and the success of Reggae Reggae sauce people are becoming more interested in West Indian food. We will also do some British dishes with a Caribbean twist so there’s something for everyone.” An ‘eating out’ review in December 2009 described the Woolaston Inn ‘fluttering with West Indian flags, steel drum music and a dining area filled with lush tropical plants.’ A take-a-way service was offered in March 2010.
Enterprise Inns, owners of the Woolaston Inn put the restaurant and pub up for sale in July 2010 for £345,000. Ivor De Lloyd said that he would be sad to leave. He had turned down the offer of a new premises offered by Enterprise Inns. Less than a year later the pub had closed.
It re-opened as the Gurkha Restaurant and Bar, specialising in Nepalese cuisine. Their website give detail that ‘blending both Oriental and Indian flavour into our food, we provide a selection of original dishes that are created to perfection by our experienced and skilled chefs to give you a taste of authentic Napalese cuisine. Plus, we also boast a separate bar to our restaurant where you can enjoy a beverage with your friends and family.’ The Woolaston Inn also offers overnight stay facilities at their B&B.
Landlords at the ‘new’ Woolaston Inn include:
1984, 1985 Dawn McGinley (previously at Farmers Arms, Apperley)
2006 Dean James (manager Linda Powell)
2008 Nikki Glover (moved to the Royal Oak, Whitecroft in April 2008)
2008 Paul Smith and Toni Young
2009 Becci Staniland and Dan Adams
2009 Ivor De Lloyd