New landlords take over historic South Shields pub - and hope to give it long future
The Victorian era Rose and Crown, at Holborn, South Shields, will remain open for business under a deal that has saved it in the short term.
But new tenants - husband and wife team Chris and Karen McKellar - have vowed to work to keep it trading for many years beyond that point.
Karen, 31, bar manager for almost a decade, and Chris, 32, have clinched a two-year lease on the riverside outlet.
It has been granted by South Tyneside Council, which has bought the boozer following the death in February of former owner Bob Overton.
The pub is in Hill Street, South Shields, - where the council is undertaking major development work.
Under the terms of the contract, either side can end the deal after a year if three months’ notice is given.
But Karen and Chris, a Merchant Navy sailor who is now shore-based, hope to go beyond that date and fulfil the contract to the full.
Karen said: “I have a very strong attachment to this pub and want it to remain open for many years to come.
“It is very much an iconic bar, and this is a great opportunity for us to give this a real go.
“The council has looked at the structural integrity of the building and there doesn’t seem to be an issue with it.
“We will do a little TLC to the place but won’t redecorate, our customers wouldn’t like that.”
Chris added: “Karen and I are very exciting by this partnership. We plan to give it the full two years and see where we are then.
“The council hasn’t given any indication to us of what it plans past that point, but it’s great that we will be open for at least that time.”
The future of the pub, built around 1850 and known as the Rosie, was put in doubt on the death of Mr Overton, 68, who had owned it since 1983.
It passed to his sister Pat Johnston, who lives in New Zealand and decided to sell after being told much needed renovations could cost £100,000.
She also feared it could collapse when heavy earth-moving machinery gets to work on a neighbouring slice of prime development land.
A council spokesman said: “We have completed on the sale of the Rose and Crown and have subsequently let the building to allow the pub to continue to operate while the regeneration plans are being finalised.”
Chris and Karen, who have been married for six years, say business has been going well since taking over.
They employ eight part-time staff and may have to recruit further.