"I'm gutted": Derbyshire pub shuts overnight leaving landlady in the lurch

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A Brimington pub has closed abruptly less than a year after new management began to turn it around, but the landowner has denied it is being sold for redevelopment.

The Three Horseshoes, on High Street, was shut by Admiral Taverns on Tuesday, May 7, with little warning for landlady Rebecca King, her family or customers.

Rebecca said: “They came to see me, said they were losing money, and asked what I thought. I know we can’t turn everything around overnight and I appreciate where Admiral is coming from, but they just shut us down that day.”

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Employed by a third-party management company as a specialist in reviving pubs “on their last legs”, Rebecca was posted to the Three Horseshoes last summer after Admiral sold the nearby Markham Arms.

Rebecca King is looking for a new home and livelihood after the closure of the Three Horseshoes. (Photo: Brian Eyre/Derbyshire Times)Rebecca King is looking for a new home and livelihood after the closure of the Three Horseshoes. (Photo: Brian Eyre/Derbyshire Times)
Rebecca King is looking for a new home and livelihood after the closure of the Three Horseshoes. (Photo: Brian Eyre/Derbyshire Times)

She said: “Two weeks after we took over the Markham we were told it was up for sale. These things often take ages but it all happened quickly.

“My company said they didn’t want to lose me, so sent us here. Most of the customers followed us up the hill.”

In December, Rebecca was reassigned to another pub near Nottingham but after her replacement in Brimington ran into fresh trouble Rebecca returned in March.

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She said: “They were losing the people we worked hard to bring in. We wandered if too much damage had been done and we were flogging a dead horse, but we gave it another good go.

“We brought back the quiz, put bands on, had dance lessons, private parties, a weekly Dungeons & Dragons night and all sorts.

“The regulars were coming back and we thought we were going to be ok. Two weeks ago we had a rock and roll singer on, and it was so packed you couldn’t get a table.”Across more than 30 years in the trade, Rebecca has seen countless examples of how precarious it can be.

She said: “Even with big pub companies, there’s always the possibility they can move you any time. It’s never your home.

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"Admiral did a survey on the building last year, which usually means a refurbishment or sale. It was renovated quite recently, but they kept saying they weren’t thinking of selling.

“When we came back in March we were told an offer had been put in, but we still expected more time.”

Rebecca is aware of rumours a sale has been agreed subject to planning permission, but no application has been submitted yet, and when the Derbyshire Times asked Admiral Taverns, the company flatly denied it.

A spokesperson said: “We are working hard to reopen the pub as soon as possible.”

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Whatever the pub’s future, the experience has proved the last straw for Rebecca and her partner, James.

She said: “We’ve had loads of messages from customers and I want to say thank you for all their support. I’m gutted. I can’t believe we had the Markham sold from under us and now this.

“If they want a holding manager, stick someone in who doesn’t care. I’ll always try my hardest to build something.”

She added: “We’ve now got to find somewhere new to live, with three kids in school, a Labrador and a cat. It’s not fair on them. There’s no security. It’s got to the point where we’re going to leave pub life behind.”

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