New landlady hopes South Shields pub will become part of the community as it reopens tonight
The doors are set to open at a community pub in South Shields once more.
Husband and wife Steve and Valerie Simpson have taken over at the White Horse, in Quarry Lane, and are looking forward to welcoming back customers when it reopens tonight.
The couple, both 60, of Harton Village, hope the pub will become a family-friendly hive of activity.
They previously ran the Riverside, in Mill Dam, for two years, but handed in the keys five years ago and are keen to get back into the pub business.
Valerie said: “Steve worked in the oil and gas industry and was regularly away but he wanted to spend more time at home and we decided to take on a pub again.
“A lot of people had been asking if we were going to get another pub after we gave up the Riverside and we really did miss it.
“We can’t wait to get it up and running and we’re hoping it’s going to be a real family pub.”
The couple themselves have two children and one grandchild, and their family will be pitching in to make sure things run smoothly.
Valerie said: “We’re trying to make a good business of it. It’s in the middle of a housing estate so we’re hoping to get all the regulars back.
“There were good darts and pool teams here too so we’d love to have them back, and football teams as well.
“We’re going to serve food at the pub too, but that won’t be available for a little while because we had a leak in the kitchen that damaged some of the equipment. It’s not a quick fix but we’re hoping it won’t be too long.”
While decorating the pub, Valerie and Steve uncovered an old painting of Marsden Rock hidden behind a fireplace.
She added: “There were three chimney breasts in the pub and we decided to strip back the one in the main bar to the original brick and when we did we found a painting of Marsden Rock stuck to the wall.
“It’s a really lovely painting and you can tell it’s old because of the way it’s painted. We’re definitely going to keep it but we’re looking for someone who can restore it and put a sealant on it to protect it from the sunlight.
“I wish we’d done the same to the other chimney breasts now because there might be more paintings hidden.”
The White Horse will reopen at 6pm tonight.