Without doubt the Robin Hood Inn, just off Barton Street, must have the most impressive pub frontage in the county of Gloucestershire. Rebuilt by the Stroud Brewery Company in 1908 the Robin Hood has an impressive green tiled exterior with ‘Stroud Brewery Ales & Stout’ prominent in raised lettering. The green glazed tiles only extend to the ground floor, the upper floor is in brick but has a central white panel which reads ‘YE OLDE ROBIN HOOD INN’. The Robin Hood Inn used to have impressive etched Stroud Brewery windows as well. It seems remarkable that the Stroud Brewery Company was prepared to spend so much money on an ordinary back street pub.
The interior of the pub must have been fitted out with mahogany bar fittings and decorative tiles. In its heyday it must have been one of the best pubs in Gloucestershire.
It closed, under Whitbread ownership, on 13th November 1977. The Stroud Brewery heritage was only rediscovered when the corporate Whitbread sign was removed. It is now a listed building but is very underestimated architecturally. The building was in use as an exhibition stand maker workshop in 2001 employing 20 people (Priestley Studios). It was bought by the Gloucester Muslim Welfare Association in the same year and converted to a new cultural centre serving Gloucester’s Muslim community. Access to the property was to be gained from Stratton Road, which runs parallel to Hopewell Street.
Gloucester Journal: Saturday 11th December, 1976: Save our pub plea. By John Drinkwater: A campaign to save a City pub has been launched by a group of regulars who fear their local will close. A petition is circulating at the pub – Ye Olde Robin Hood Inn, Hopewell Street, Gloucester and is likely to have over 100 signatures soon. Regulars also plan to write to the managing director of the brewery, Whitbreads, asking them to reconsider any closure plans they might have. Further action is also being organised at the Robin Hood, which boasts its own fishing club, cricket, football, crib and shove ha’penny teams and skittles side.
Landlord Mr Arthur Wood, who has kept the pub for 35 years, says he has been told that Whitbread ‘definitely’ want to close the Robin Hood. “I would be very sorry to see that happen because good regular customers like mine are what this trade is all about. We have a good pub here that serves the community well – it would be a real shame to close it.”
Customers are also up-in-arms at the closure threat, and feelings are running high in the pub which attracts a loyal band of regulars who have been going there for a drink for many years. They talk of the ‘friendly atmosphere’ which prevails throughout the pub, involving regular and newcomers alike. Their elected spokesman, Mr Derick Mince, of Derby Road, summed up the general feeling: “For every Whitbread owned pub in our area there is not one which has so many thriving functions as ours. It seems to us that the last thing Whitbreads think is about the customer.”
But a brewery spokesman this week refused to confirm that the pub was definitely closing – in spite of what the landlord had been told. “No definite decision has been made to close the house although we will be looking into the situation,” he said.
Gloucester Journal: Saturday 19th November 1977 – Gloucester loses another old pub: When the last pints were drawn in Ye Olde Robin Hood, Hopewell Street, Gloucester, on Sunday night (13th November), landlord Arthur Wood and his wife Joyce ended more than a busy day’s work. They were calling time on nearly half a century of family connection with the pub, which had been an established favourite in the area since 1908. “It’s a very sad time for all of us,” said Mr Wood. “Some of the locals were so upset they actually cried on Joyce’s shoulder. It made us feel like crying too.”
The closure of the pub with its snug parlour and intimate friendly atmosphere is indeed a blow to its regulars. But no-one will miss it like Mr Wood himself. Born just opposite, in No 3 Hopewell Street, he was first carried into Ye Olde Robin Hood as a baby. He went to live there in 1928 when his mother, Mrs Eliza Wood, remarried and became wife of the licensee at that time, Mr Tom Fletcher. On his death Mrs Fletcher took over the licence and it was from her that Mr Wood gained the licence 31 years ago. During his years behind the bar the pub gained a high reputation – “We never once had any trouble,” Mr Wood recalls proudly.
Some months ago when the regulars first received a hint of possible closure Mr Derek Mince raised a petition in a vain attempt to forestall the move. “But really after so many years I think I’m ready to retire,” said Mr Wood. “It would have been costly to carry on here if the necessary alterations were carried out.” So now, after a private farewell party on Monday evening, he and his wife are moving to a new flat in Stroud Road. There they will be conveniently placed between their friends around Hopewell Street and their son, daughter, and five grand-children who live in Hempsted.
The Citizen: August 20th, 2001 – New centre for Muslims in city. By Lawrence Hurley: (edit) An ambitious plan for a new cultural centre serving Gloucester’s thriving Muslim community has ben unveiled. The Gloucester Muslim Welfare Association wants to redevelop the Stratton Road premises currently housing exhibition stand makers Priestley Studios. It has already purchased the building, which will provide 16,000 square feet of space, and has applied to city planners for change of use.
1879 William Bragg
1936,1939 Thomas Fletcher
1946-1977 Arthur.E. and Joyce Wood