Publicans Steve King and Joe Quinn of the award-winning Arden Arms pub on Millgate, Stockport, are getting ready to a celebrate its 200th birthday on Sunday 30th August.
The duo, who have run the Arden Arms since November 1999, are set to celebrate the bicentennial in style and pay tribute to the rich history of the pub.
“We fell in love with the Arden Arms the first time we saw it” recalls Steve. “It was the perfect location for us after running another business together for 15 years…we haven’t left since!”
Joe said: “It’s hard to believe we’ve been at the Arden Arms for almost 16 years; we feel almost part of the furniture! It’s incredible to look back at the history of the pub and the celebration is to pay homage to a Stockport institution.”
The first landlord of the Arden Arms, George Raffald Junior, was the nephew of a remarkable woman named Elizabeth Raffald. Elizabeth was born in 1733 and became a housekeeper at Arley Hall in Cheshire. After marrying the head gardener John Raffald, in 1763, the duo set up business at the Bulls Head in Manchester. Elizabeth was renowned for her cold collations, elegant French cuisine and eye-catching confectionery.
Her recipes were so successful that in 1769 she published 800 of them in her best-selling cookbook ‘The Experienced English Housekeeper’. Elizabeth is credited as being amongst the first recorded sources in the English language to use ‘barbecue’ as a cookery term in her eighteenth century recipe book; nearly a century before Mrs Beeton published her world-famous ‘Book of Household Management’. She is also responsible for the modern Eccles Cake which she innovated using flaky pastry instead of a yeast based mix.
Steve said: “They don’t make them like that anymore! She was an inspiring woman, especially at a time where the world was very male dominated. She left her mark not just on Manchester and Stockport but on the entire world.”
After her death in 1781, her nephew George built the Arden Arms directly opposite St Mary’s Parish Churchyard where his aunt was buried. The pub is now the only original building left standing on its side of Millgate.
Joe said: “We’re proud of our heritage. Without our history and the long line of innkeepers before us, the Arden Arms wouldn’t have made it to 200 years. We hope we can do them proud!”
The celebration will commence throughout the day, running alongside Stockport Old Town’s Fringe Festival, with live music starting at 6pm from the Arden Arms’ courtyard along with street food from Carl’s Pancakes and Jason the Pizzamaker; both mainstays of Stockport’s popular ‘Foodie Friday’ event.
Closing, Steve said: “It’s not every day you get to celebrate 200 years. The beer and music will be flowing and we want to invite everyone to come down and celebrate the Arden Arms, Stockport and the great British pub!”