(only available on CD in PowerPoint/PDF format)
In the autumn of 2006, town’s people were shocked by the apparently sudden sale of the Royal Hop Pole Hotel to the pub chain, J.D. Wetherspoons.
Perhaps because of the speed of the transaction, the initial reaction was hostile since many people cherish the Hop Pole for different contributions to the Town’s history and culture. Patience was further stretched by the sudden sale of furniture and fittings which contained a valuable wooden table which had dominated the old hotel which was thought by some to have been "removed" from the Abbey at the Dissolution in 1540. Eventually J.D. Wetherspoons acknowledged the strength of local feeling and, even though the table was not claimed by Abbey experts, it was withdrawn from the sale. In addition the Managing Director accepted an invitation from the Tewkesbury Forward Group to address its members and the public. This took placer on 4 December 2006 and there was a partial welcome to the firm's commitments to maintain as much of the historic character of the Hop Pole as possible.
To this end, I pledged to produce, for J.D. Wetherspoons, a CD Rom with pictures and commentary containing the history of a fascinating building.
Possibly built by 1786, it comprises in fact three distinct buildings, still addressed as 94-96 Church Street: the former Riverside private residence and Temperance Hotel; the Hop Pole Coaching Inn and the former Bull Inn, shops and passage which is now the dining room extension and back entrance to the kitchens.
The account acknowledges that the origin of the name in this area is still a mystery but the Royal appendix is explained as is its importance to the Dickens Society of the early 20th century.
It is to be hoped that, once acquainted by the love of the townspeople for its historical public house, then J.D. Wetherspoons will develop it with far more sensitivity and taste and this will prove to be just the latest stage in the successful history of the Royal Hop Pole Hotel.
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