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More Success for Community Pubs.

And if they can do it so can we !

Pub where Churchill 'learnt to drink' saved by community

Reproduced with Kind Permission of The Oxford Mail, 24th May By Liam Rice Reporter

Residents in the village of Bladon, pictured here in October 2019, have successfully fought to save their pub. Picture: Ed Nix

VILLAGERS in West Oxfordshire have joined together to save the pub where Sir Winston Churchill ‘learnt to drink’.

A team of 10 Bladon residents forged a committee, the Bladon Community Pub, and have now successfully had an offer accepted by Greene King.

The White House has become renown for being the pub where the former Prime Minister drank during his adolescent years.

News first broke that the pub was going to be sold at the end of the summer last year.

“The pub was going to be sold and possibly developed and lost,” said Mike Edwards, one of the committee members.

“The bid went in just before lockdown and then we didn’t hear anything for a while understandably.

“We’ve now got confirmation from the board of directors at Greene King that the offer has been accepted.

“It’s fantastic news for us and now hopefully the village will have a community pub for everyone.

“The community is absolutely thrilled with the news, everybody wants to come back and buy shares now that we’ve reopened the shares offer.

“The committee all come from different walks of life and we’ll be using our different skillsets.”

Mr Edwards, a captain with British Airways, said that so far, 430 people have bought shares in the pub.

The 52-year-old said that sixty people from the community attended the first meeting in October, and since then there was a ‘massive appetite’ amongst locals to buy the pub.

“The whole thing has gone global with people inspired by the story that Churchill learnt to drink at the pub,” he said.

The plight of The White House was even picked up in Australia, when news channel 9 News Australia featured the story earlier this year.

Mr Edwards said the pub would now be looking to commence work when safe to do so in order to add a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities, whilst also making improvements to the pub garden.

He added: “We won’t be going gastro, we want good quality village pub food.

“We want a classic village pub which will also be a community hub.

“We’re now looking for someone with experience in the field to run the pub and live there too.

“There’s over 100 community pubs now in the UK and not one of them has failed - it’s a great business model but you need the support of the local community and further afield which we have had in spades.”

The pub had been on the market for £495,000 with fears it could have landed in the hands of developers.

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