Property round-up

Property Round-up: Inception Group, Wells & Co, The Surprise and new pub for 50 acre island

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

New sites: what has been going on in the pub property market this week?
New sites: what has been going on in the pub property market this week?

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The latest property news includes updates from Inception Group, Wells & Co, The Surprise, Pub is The Hub and Piel Island Pub Co.

Inception Group takes over 'The London Gin Club'

Inception Group, the London-based bar operator and owner of Cahoots and Mr Fogg’s, has signed a 20- year lease on iconic Soho institution, 'The London Gin Club' on Great Chapel Street.

Julia Forte and Vicky Fisher founded the bar in 2012 and ran it successfully for seven years before sadly being forced to close in April 2019 due to severe damage caused by Crossrail as they constructed their adjacent Tottenham Court Road Station. 

Inception Group intends to make a few modifications but to largely keep the bar as it was before its grand reopening this September. 

Inception co-founder Charlie Gilkes said: “Julia and Vicky created something very special at The London Gin Club and were ahead of the times focusing on gin which has since grown enormously in popularity. It has always been a favourite venue of Duncan's and mine and we are very excited to be continuing their legacy.”

The London Gin Club Founder, Julia Forte who has retained the freehold of the building said: “Our family have owned and operated the venue for the last 88 years and we couldn't think of better first tenants than Duncan and Charlie's Inception Group, who focus so much on experience, quality of product and hospitality over service’. 



Wells & Co to expand post-pandemic with Bedford pub launch

Bedford-based brewing family pub company Wells & Co is set to expand with eight new pub launches post pandemic starting the launch of local pub, the Gordon Arms.

The reopening of The Gordon Arms, alongside the other pub launches, is set to introduce pubgoers to the new craft beer range, brewed on site at Wells & Co’s new home Brewpoint. 

Following a complete refurbishment, the Gordon Arms will reopen its doors in August showcasing a new avant-garde beer garden as well as the reopening of on-site music venue, Ent Shed, to keep guests entertained with regular live music.

Wells & Co said it is working hard to bounce back and drive sales following a year of uncertainty for the hospitality industry. 

Wells & Co retail director Shirley Couchman said: “We recently published that sales in the Wells & Co. estate were down from £53.2m to £38.5m in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so to be able to expand so soon after full restrictions eased in July reflects a resilient approach to a tough fifteen months.

She adds: “I joined the main board back in July last year with the aim to continue expanding our managed pub estate to rebuild and grow our way out of the Covid-19 crisis. The future is looking promising, but we’re especially excited to open the doors of the Gordon Arms as a local Bedford neighbourhood pub that offers great entertainment and a great place to socialise whilst tucking into delicious food.”



New pub opens in Chelsea

The Surprise, Chelsea, west London has recently opened under the new ownership of Jack Greenall following a complete refurbishment.

Greenall has opened the Surprise as an independent pub following the success of his Berkshire based pub, the Pheasant Inn.  

Previously part of the Youngs group, the now independently run pub will be home to a characterful bar, restaurant area and private dining room seating 28. 

Greenall said: “We have always wanted a sister pub in the city bringing the values of the much loved Pheasant Inn to the busy people of London: a warm and friendly welcome every time, delicious seasonal and local menu at sensible prices and a world class wine and spirits list in a beautiful and comfortable setting.”

The Surprise was built in the 1800s and named after a French Napoleonic warship originally called Unite until her capture by the British." 



Historic pub reopens on 50-acre island

The newly-formed Piel Island Pub Co threw has opened the historic Ship Inn, located on the 50-acre island of Piel, after it had been closed since late 2019. The island consists only of the pub, the 14th century Piel Castle and three houses, and is surrounded by seal colonies swimming off the Furness Peninsula. 

The pub is believed to have had a presence on the island for more than 300 years, and was threatened with permanent closure after the previous publicans had relinquished the tenancy.

The newly-created pub company stepped in to keep the pub open and has put a range of local ales, spirits and food on the menu. 

Kirsty Ridge, a director of Piel Island Pub Co and the managing director of Cumbrian pub chain Lakeland Inns, said: “This project is certainly different compared to my other pubs, but it has been really exciting and a challenge we have all enjoyed.

“There’s been obstacles we have had to clear and there’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but it’s all been made worthwhile when you see the reaction from locals and visitors who appreciate what we have done.” 

“The support from the public has been amazing and we’ve been really busy, and we’re grateful for such backing.

“The pub is a vital part of this unique and wonderful island, and we’re privileged to have played our role in getting it back up and running, much to the delight of our customers.”

As part of the project, Piel Island Pub Co is offering camping experiences to visitors, and there are plans to develop this over the summer.

Piel Island was gifted to the people of nearby Barrow as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the First World War, and locals say the pub is the lifeblood to attracting people to the area.

Barrow Borough Council is the custodian of Piel Island, and has leased the pub to Piel Island Pub Co until September. Photo credit: Dave Willis



Devon pub launches craft cabin to help locals

The Lord-Lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon has officially opened a creative cabin at the Stoke Canon Inn in Stoke Canon, Devon. 

The cabin is to be home to a raft of local groups including arts and crafts, learn a language, history lessons, knit and natter, folk singing, book club and bingo club. 

The creative cabin, which was set up to bring people together and combat social isolation, was opened with the expert help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub, the not-for-profit organisation that helps pubs to diversify and provide essential local services.

Director of the Stoke Canon Inn community group Peter Mitchell said: "We are calling our new craft area 'The Hub' as a mark of our gratitude for the help we received from Pub is The Hub in making it happen. 

He added: “We're a small pub and had no defined space for groups looking for an autonomous area in which to hold their activities.  We look forward to using it for music, handicraft groups, small exhibitions, meetings and anything else that may be requested by our local residents in the future."

  • David Fursdon, Lord Lieutenant of Devon, cuts the ribbon to officially open the craft cabin copy
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