Ye Olde Inn was described in the 1996 edition of ‘Real Ale in Gloucestershire’ (CAMRA) as an ‘excellent Cotswold freehouse popular with locals and tourists alike.’ Hook Norton Best Bitter and Draught Bass were the beers on offer.
The Olde Inn was bought in August 1996 by a group of racehorse trainers including Nigel Twiston Davies and Raymond Mould (the Hollow Bottom Partnership). Upon the acquisition the name of the pub was changed to the Hollow Bottom – apparently the locals had referred to the Old Inn as ‘the pub in the hollow in the bottom of the road’ for a considerable time.
The pub was the scene for jubilation in April 1998 when ‘Earth Summit’, trained by Nigel Twiston Davies, won the Grand National. More than a hundred cheering and clapping locals lined the street by the Hollow Bottom forming a guard of honour to welcome the ten year old winner back home. Earth Summit was taken from his stables at Grange Hill Farm, Naunton, to the Hollow Bottom in a horse box and then paraded up and down outside for about a quarter of an hour to the delight of the crowds.
Earth Summit returned to the Hollow Bottom to help launch a new era at the pub. Friends and business partners Hugh Kelly and Charles Pettigrew bought the lease of the pub from Nigel Twiston-Davies and Peter Scudamore on Thursday 17th May 2001, and to mark the occasion Scotsmen Hugh and Charlie donned their kilts and hired a piper. A barbeque was laid on and the opening night was attended by Zara Phillips, the Princess Royal’s daughter, who chatted and danced the night away with friends. Mr Pettigrew said: “There’s a wonderful clientele here with lots of famous jockeys and commentators. It’s a racing pub and we’re going to keep that theme.”
The late night revelry and loud music emanating from the large marquee erected in the pubs car park did not please everyone. One local resident said that he and his wife had to wear earplugs in bed, and a spokeswoman for the residents commented: “This is not Guiting de Sol. This is a quintessential English village, not some urban place.” Hugh Kelly apologised for any inconvenience but said that 40 villagers, including the next door neighbours, had signed a 120 signature petition in support of the Hollow Bottom – Guiting Power’s biggest employer during the Cheltenham race meetings. Agreeing to curtail the noise levels Hugh said: “We can assure [those] residents that they can now go to bed at 9pm with their Horlicks and not be upset.”
Horse racing memorabilia adorn the walls of the pub, from paintings to newspaper cuttings. Saddles and racing outfits are also proudly displayed. Visitors entering the pub are greeted by a pair of boots worn by Richard Dunwoody when he rode Charter Party to victory in the 1988 Gold Cup. The Hollow Bottom is a shrine to the Cheltenham Festival.
Nigel Twiston Davies secured another Grand National Win in 2002 when his horse Bindaree ridden by Toddington-based jockey Richard Johnson narrowly pipped the post in front of ‘What’s up Boys’. Tears of joy were shed as the all-conquering trainer and owner, Raymond Mould, arrived at the Hollow Bottom Inn. Both were soaked in champagne by well-wishers as they entered the pub, which was decked out with party banners and a hand-painted sign reading – ‘Congratulations Bindaree and the team from all at the Hollow Bottom.’
In the Autumn of 2004 the Hollow Bottom’s food supplier, Cotswold Fish & Game in Cirencester, supplied the pub with some kangaroo fillets. Owner and chef Charles Pettigrew was amazed on how well the kangaroo was received by diners. As their customers’ taste became more adventurous Charlie cooked and served up portions of camel, llama, springbok, ostrich, bison and wild boar. Crocodile medallions were also very popular – customers no doubt asking the chef to make it snappy!
The 2002 Grand National winner Bindaree was guest of honour at the Hollow Bottom Inn when it reopened on Sunday 29th May 2005 after a £30,000 refurbishment. The restaurant was doubled in size and a new kitchen, toilets, cellar and staff accommodation were also added.
After two winners at the Grand National, it was only a matter of time before Nigel Twiston-Davies trained a Gold Cup winner. That ultimate accolade came in March 2010 when Imperial Commander crossed the finishing line at Prestbury Park at odds of 7-1. Once more the Holly Bottom was the scene of much joy and celebration. Nigel said: “It is a very special day and great to see so many people come out to join in the celebrations.” It was the first time that the Gold Cup had been in Gloucestershire since Charter Party won it in 1988.
In April 2022 it was announced that the Youngs Pub and Hotel chain had bought the Hollow Bottom.
Map Reference: SP 093249
Beerhouse listed with no name.
Probably the Olde Inn but the link with the Smith surname may be coincidental.
Owner in 1891: George Smith (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1891: £8.10s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Beerhouse
Owner in 1903: George Smith (free from brewery tie)
Rateable value in 1903: £11.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Beerhouse
Closing time in 1903: 10pm
Landlords (pub with no name):
1891,1903 Keziah Smith
Landlords at the Olde Inn / Hollow Bottom include:
1939 Harry J. Smith
1988 Chris Hilterman
2000 Elliot Atkinson and Marillon Twiston Davies (manager Jason Dohse)
2001 Hugh Kelly an Charlie Pettigrew