Property round-up: Piers Morgan’s former pub sold, Fuller’s invests £2m

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: there’s been more than £3m worth of pubco investment and the sale of a London pub with a famous former owner
Property moves: there’s been more than £3m worth of pubco investment and the sale of a London pub with a famous former owner
The latest news on more than £3m worth of pubco investment, St Austell and Thornbridge eye new venues, and Piers Morgan’s Hansom Cab finds a new owner.

Piers Morgan’s former pub sold for £75,000

A London pub that counts journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan among its former owners, has been sold by Christie & Co on behalf of operator Pubs of Distinction.

Found on the corner of Earl’s Court Road and Pembroke Square, south of Kensington High Street, the Hansom Cab was bought by Morgan with his brother Rupert and their friend Tarquin Gorst in 2010. Under the trio’s ownership, the pub’s kitchen was directed by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White.

Discussing their purchase, the new owners commented: “We believe a pub has more to offer than just a place to grab a drink and should be focused as a place for family and community.  

“The Hansom Cab has the potential to become a warm and welcoming local pub while also giving the passer-by or tourist an opportunity to get a feel of a traditional English pub.”

Fuller’s pumps close to £2m into all-day dining and co-working upgrades

Pub and hotel operator Fuller’s has invested almost £2m in improvements to the Chamberlain Hotel near Tower Hill, in east London, designed to cater for customers seeking all-day dining and a more casual workplace. 

The company behind 180 tenanted sites and 204 managed pubs and hotels – which won the best accommodation category at the 2019 Publican Awards – has added a new lounge, restaurant, basement cocktail bar – the Chambers – and reception to the Chamberlain’s hotel rooms.

“Our team has worked extremely hard to prepare for this new and exciting venture with the Chamberlain,” Mark Fulton, head of operations at Fuller’s said of the investment.

“We wanted to challenge our traditional approach towards hospitality and offer an all-inclusive space that serves great food and innovative cocktails, while encouraging visitors to explore the rest of the venue.

“It’s the first time we have ever done something like this before and it’s also a significant investment for us, but we are confident it’s a positive change that reflects the needs of the modern consumer, seeking a fantastic dining and drinking experience.”


Whelan’s pub portfolio to hit double figures 

South-east-based multiple operator Whelan’s will open the Apple Tree in Shirley, south London, after stumping up £500,000 with Star Pubs & Bars.

The site formerly known as the Goat has been closed for the past two years and will reopen at the end of October as the 10th site in the Whelan’s portfolio – it’s seventh with Star Pubs & Bars.

“In the next five years we plan to grow our estate to 20 pubs – a mix  of Whelan’s branded pubs and premium local community sites,” multiple operator, Austin Whelan explained. “It takes two years to establish a brand and we’re on target, trading above expectation.  

“We’ve got some really good strong venues and have an offer that resonates [with customers], including sports daily, fantastic live entertainment and good-quality food and drinks.  

“In addition to more sites in the south-east, we’re looking to take on pubs in prime locations in Manchester and Birmingham.” 


Admiral Taverns invests £148,000 in Lincolnshire pub 

Located in the heart of Newark in Lincolnshire, the Old Kings Head has been given a six-figure facelift by community pub operator Admiral Taverns.

The refurbished site, which has been decked out in Victorian décor and given a 1920s feel, will be run by husband and wife team Sian and Will Fleming. 

Discussing the investment the Old Kings Arms’ licensee Will Fleming – who has operated pubs in Liverpool, London, Amsterdam and Florida – said: “We’ve been looking for our next challenge in the food and drinks industry and were delighted when Admiral agreed to let us take on the Old Kings Arms. 

“In its heyday, the pub was a hot spot for cask ales drinkers, and we’d like to recreate this again. We want the locals to feel they can just pop in for a coffee in the daytime, come in and read the paper or just come and say hello and get to know us. 

“The pub looks fantastic following the refurbishment and we’re really excited for the future.”

Astley Arms reopens following £500k refurbishment 

The Astley Arms, in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, has reopened following a £500,000 joint investment by Robinsons Brewery and Inglenook Inns & Taverns.

“Robinsons Brewery has been planning to invest in the Astley Arms for a number of years,” Tony Massey, business development manager at Robinsons Brewery said of the investment. “It’s a wonderful pub right in the heart of Dukinfield and, while it needed refreshing and rethinking for the needs and requirements of today’s customers, it was important that the refurbishment retained and reflected its original character and authentic charm.  

“Due to the size of the pub and the investment now undertaken by both Robinsons and Inglenook Inns and Taverns, the Astley Arms is once again a landmark pub for the area.  

“Whether a place to eat, drink, celebrate or watch sport and entertainment, it’s a real hub for the community of Dukinfield.”


Harbour Light restaurant joins St Austell Brewery estate

Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell Brewery has secured a long-term lease for the Harbour Light restaurant in Paignton, Devon, which will join the company’s managed pub restaurant estate. 

St Austell hopes to sensitively restore the two-storey, Grade II-listed, harbour-side property – on which Torbay Council has granted the brewer a 90-year lease – in keeping with the building’s heritage. 

Discussing the acquisition, St Austell Brewery’s retail director Steve Worrall said: “We’re delighted to have secured a long-term lease on the Harbour Light restaurant. 

“The building has huge potential, so we’re excited to be working closely with Torbay Council and the harbour committee to sensitively restore it into a family-friendly venue, with unrivalled views of Paignton’s harbour side.

“We look forward to opening the new Harbour Light pub restaurant in due course and welcoming local residents and visitors.”

Harbour Lights

Thornbridge to open two new sites before Christmas 2019

Derbyshire-based brewer and pub operator Thornbridge is targeting 10 new venues over the next five years, with two new sites already earmarked for 2019​.  

Thornbridge will open the Colmore, in Birmingham, in November, while the team behind the brewer and operator’s site in York will open the Bankers Car in Leeds before Christmas. 

“Our York site has had great success and we are thrilled to have secured a site in Leeds,” Thornbridge Brewery CEO Simon Webster said. “It’s a fantastic city with so much going on and an incredibly passionate craft beer community.

“We are also really pleased to be moving ahead with Birmingham as we know how much excitement there was when we first announced we would be opening in the city.”


To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​. 

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