Historic pub set to be heart of village

Dorset Echo: BACK IN BUSINESS: Celebrating the reopening of the Ilchester Arms Hotel are Sean McBride, head chef, and owners Cathy, Tom, Sarah and Geoff Harrison BACK IN BUSINESS: Celebrating the reopening of the Ilchester Arms Hotel are Sean McBride, head chef, and owners Cathy, Tom, Sarah and Geoff Harrison

AN HISTORIC pub in Abbotsbury has reopened under new management after extensive renovation work – which has helped create up to 20 jobs in the village.

The Ilchester Arms Hotel in Market Street reopened following a six-week closure after the pub was bought by the Harrison family.

Parents Geoff and Cathy Harrison, son Tom and daughter Sarah all contributed to the purchase of the premises, which dates back to the 17th century, and are all now helping to manage the pub.

The renovation cost the family tens of thousands of pounds, but the reopened hotel has created nine-full time jobs and 11 part-time positions.

Work includes a complete redecoration, the reinstallation of a circular bar, new kitchen equipment, the ceiling in the bar area has been restored to its original height and the conservatory area has also been redecorated.

Daughter Sarah said: “It turned into a mammoth task.

“It was one of those things where you would start work on one area and find that there were more problems in that area than you first realised.

“That’s one of the reasons we have got a brand new kitchen, it was easier to just pull it all out and start again, but it has all been worth it and we are really pleased with how it has turned out.”

The family have set their sights on becoming the hub of the village and want to attract local residents as well as tourists.

Mr Harrison said: “I have travelled all over the world as part of my job, ate in many different restaurants and always thought that I’d like to have a go at running my own, so when the opportunity came up we had to go for it.

“We want to be a bar and restaurant that people want to come to rather than pop in as they are passing through. I have always dreamed of owning a pub that is the centre of a village and hopefully this will turn into that.”

Comments (3)

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4:27pm Tue 20 May 14

shy talk says...

Wish them the best of luck in this day and age of village pubs closing down. And just to add, use it or lose it people.
Wish them the best of luck in this day and age of village pubs closing down. And just to add, use it or lose it people. shy talk
  • Score: 1

8:55am Wed 21 May 14

westbaywonder says...

Hmm, Brave,very brave.
Hmm, Brave,very brave. westbaywonder
  • Score: 1

6:46pm Wed 21 May 14

unexpected error says...

Well if they intend to be the hub of the local village then they might want to actually talk to their locals. Having been in there at least a dozen times since they have opened I can honestly say I have never spoken to anyone in the photo!

It's a shame that after being regular customers for so long we now would rather go elsewhere.
Well if they intend to be the hub of the local village then they might want to actually talk to their locals. Having been in there at least a dozen times since they have opened I can honestly say I have never spoken to anyone in the photo! It's a shame that after being regular customers for so long we now would rather go elsewhere. unexpected error
  • Score: -1

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