OFFICIALLY opening Bulwell’s new £1.3 million JD Wetherspoon pub, the William Peverel, was like a homecoming for former Dispatch chief reporter Denis Robinson.
As a boy, Denis lived right opposite the Main Street ‘local’ in a flat above what is now a branch of Ladbrokes, the bookmaker’s.
At that time, Denis’s father, the late Mark Robinson, had a radio and TV shop there.
The building where the William Peverel is located used to be the Palace Cinema. As a lifelong film fan, Denis regarded the Palace as his second home.
He particularly enjoyed Western films such as those starring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy).
A special display in the pub has been devoted to Denis, who retired in January after more than 57 years’ service with the Dispatch.
The William Peverel soon found itself busy after Denis marked the opening by cutting a ceremonial ribbon. It seemed appropriate that as a real-ale enthusiast, he celebrated the launch with a pint of beer!
William Peverel is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as owning the manor of Bulwell, which comprised about 240 acres of land.
Features of the pub have a medieval theme, including a stained-glass window to depict the Battle of Hastings.
The building, which was latterly a Wilkinson store, has stood derelict for a number of years.
Manager Scott Hutchinson said: “We have been looking forward to opening the pub since 2007 but had to overcome licensing and planning complications. As Wetherspoons pubs go, the design of this one is quite unique.
“We obviously hope the William Peverel will be well patronised. The response from the Bulwell community has already been very encouraging.”
Jack Hillman, of Snape Wood, who was among the first customers at the William Peverel, said: “I am very impressed. This is just what Bulwell has needed for a long time.”
Watford-based JD Wetherspoon, which also operates the Pilgrim Oak on High Street, Hucknall, was founded as a single pub in London in 1979 by Tim Martin. The name comes from one of Martin’s teachers in New Zealand who could not control his class and said Martin would never make it as a businessman!
The chain, which now comprises 816 pubs nationwide, champions cask ale, low prices, long opening hours and no music.
The William Peverel is in keeping with Wetherspoons’ policy of opening its pubs early in the morning, serving breakfast, and it has a special area for smokers.