The Davenport Arms, Woodford, has reopened its doors following an extensive £100k refurbishment project.
Located on Chester road, the award winning Davenport Arms has been given a new lease of life after being completely revamped, inside and out, with a new look that salutes the pub’s storied past. The substantial joint venture between Robinsons Brewery and long serving landlady Yvonne Hallworth took just three weeks.
Steeped in history, the Robinsons family acquired the Davenport Arms in 1922 but this historic hostelry – once part of the famed Capesthorne Estate – dates back to the 18th Century when the Davenport family were game wardens to the Kings hunting preserves. Legend has it that the tree which stands outside was used to hang wrongdoers; hence the pub’s epithet ‘The Thief’s Neck’.
The Hallworth family – now in their fifth generation at the pub and the longest serving family of any pub in Robinsons’ 330-strong estate – have been pulling pints at the Davenport for more than 80 years, so naturally Yvonne was very hands-on with the design process and worked closely with Robinsons in the re-imagining of the famous site.
“I wanted to make sure that the design would not alienate any of our regulars,” said Yvonne. “People have always had a real affinity and connection to our pub but it was starting to become apparent that the seating areas were in need of some TLC. When Robinsons approached us 12 months ago about the possibility of giving the pub a refurbishment we felt the time was right.”
The new look Davenport Arms remains true to tradition with the Davenport family crest proudly adorning the new-fangled external wooden signage. A new porch has been added to the rear courtyard door together with a new smoking shelter, new lighting, and a new planting scheme to improve the pub’s kerb appeal. New outside seating has also been added which will provide a perfect suntrap during the summer months.
Inside, full internal decoration was carried out along with new flooring and furniture, new soft furnishings and atmospheric lighting. The pub uses a palette of neutral greens and browns together with wall coverings that celebrate areas of local heritage. Pictures and personal family photos of past generations are also dotted around the pub, paying tribute to former landlords and giving an insight into the lives of the past publicans that helped shape this local favourite.
Susan Forbes, Business Development Manager for Robinsons Brewery said: “The Davenport Arms isn’t just a pub to Yvonne and her family; it’s a huge part of their lives and has been for over 80 years and five generations. It was so important that the (Hallworth) family and the staff had their say in the design process because we did not want to compromise the character of the building – I can happily say we’ve succeeded in recapturing the history of the pub with a modern look.”
Since 1932, when the Hallworth family first took over the Davenport Arms, more than 11 million pints of Robinsons’ ale have been served so it was high time to treat the pub and its drinkers to a brand new, bigger and better, solid oak bar complete with a new back bar display and atmospheric pendant lighting. In addition, a light and airy snug area has also been developed and the existing log fires restored; perfect for the cold winter months.
“The pub looks spectacular” said Yvonne. “We’ve shown it off to the regulars who have been completely bowled over by the new look; giving huge compliments to us and the Robinsons design team. We want to thank the brewery for all their hard work and for restoring the Davenport back to the glory it deserves. We can’t wait to see what this new chapter holds for the Thief’s Neck!”
William Robinson, Robinsons Managing Director (Pub Division), commented: “The entire family is extremely proud of the long association we share with the Hallworth family. Our two families have had a strong, successful working relationship for many years now and the Davenport Arms have become a real community treasure… which is what it is all about.”
To celebrate the re-opening Robinsons Brewery supplied the Davenport Arms with a very special limited edition beer – ‘Thief’s Downfall’ – a crisp, golden 4% ABV ale that is fit for a King (and his game wardens).
Closing, Yvonne said: “We want to welcome back customers old and new – come and see what has been brewing at the Davenport Arms.”