RETRO: A look at the history of a famous Chesterfield pub, the White Swan

The Mucky Duck.
The Mucky Duck.

Now one of Chesterfield’s most popular pubs, standing proudly next to the famous Crooked Spire, the White Swan has a history that many town residents may not remember.

The famous watering hole was first opened in 1902 after being built by John Smith’s Brewery and became more commonly known as the ‘Mucky Duck’.

In 1988 the pub underwent major refurbishment when it became open plan, changing its name to the Avenue, and five years later it was sold on, opening as a Chinese restaurant in 2004.

The eatery traded for eight years before it closed down, therefore paving the way for yet another major refurbishment in March 2012 in which the White Swan was re-born.

In its heydey, the original pub hosted live music nights, attracting rock and blues bands along with all their fans.

Jeanette Hamer ran the ‘Mucky Duck’ alongside her husband during the venues heyday. They oversaw it for four years in the 1980s.

Speaking of her time at the pub, Jeanette said that she was proud to run a venue that accomodated all walks of life. She added: “It certainly was a people’s pub and very successful too, with plenty of hub and grub!

“I worked like mad serving hot dogs and beefburgers to an impatient waiting queue. It put me off tomato sauce forever, and at the end of the night I stank of fried onions, but that is what you did to please the punters.

“My husband used to say it is all about PMP, ‘people make pounds’, and if your lucky you may be privileged to enjoy it, well we enjoyed it, every day of those blessed four years we occupied those premises.

“We also ran the White Swan as a hotel, after a long and arduous clean up of the wonderful large bedrooms above, and accomodated many walks of life.

“We had the Crooked Spire to thank, for bringing many tourists through our doors, who had been drawn towards the town.”

Jeanette also said that she was overjoyed to see that the pub is now trading under its original name.

“We had a vision with that place.” she added.

“Whilst many thought we were insane to take on the dirty old pub, it became fruitful and it worked. I feel blessed to have spent those four years and some dirty nights out in Chesterfield.”

The history of the pub is remembered in this photos-led speciali edition of retro.