Dave Walker and Jill Woolley of The Tiviot, Stockport have called ‘last orders’ for their final time after a 47 year family connection with the pub and Robinsons.
In December 1965, Dave’s father, Roy Walker, became the licensee for The Tiviot and pulled his first pint of Robinsons. Close to 48 years later, his son, Dave and Dave’s partner Jill Woolley have announced their retirement from the local favourite, concluding one of the longest standing family partnerships within the Cheshire family brewer’s estate.
Working in the pub from an early age, Dave developed a passion for the trade that has continued ever since.
“I remember working for my dad when I was only 15 years old,” recalls Dave, “I would collect glasses under the watchful eye of my parents; they were making sure I wasn’t getting up to any mischief! When I was old enough I started pulling pints behind the bar and haven’t stopped since!”
Dave took over from his father in 1978 and has continued to run the pub for over three decades, building up The Tiviots’ reputation as a hub within the community. Jill joined The Tiviot in 1976, first working part time on Friday evenings before becoming Landlady in 1988.
The pub, located a stone’s throw from the busy Stockport high street, was a congregation for people from all walks of life. Over the years, Dave and Jill met many colourful characters who came to think of The Tiviot as their ‘home away from home’.
“It wasn’t uncommon for some of our regulars to let themselves in the back door if they found the front was shut,” recalls Jill. “They would sit down in the pub and wait for us to start the bar service. They treated the place like it was their home but it really added to the atmosphere and community feel of the place.”
“You get to see a lot of changes after that amount of time,” remembers Dave, “prior to the new drinking laws we had to shoehorn our customers out at 3pm. They would wait around Stockport till we re-opened at 5pm that evening! We couldn’t get rid of them! They were the best regulars any pub owner could have asked for!”
Upon the announcement of their retirement from the Stockport pub, customers old and new made the trip to The Tiviot to give the duo the send-off they deserved.
“We had people from all parts of the country turn up on our final day,” said Dave, “some of them brought their children who wanted to come because they remember the pub so fondly from their childhood. It was really humbling to see that our pub had touched so many lives.”
“We had planned for a nice, relaxing final day at The Tiviot,” joked Jill, “but the amount of people who came to send us off was overwhelming. It was a great thing to see and a wonderful conclusion to such an important part of our lives.”
Speaking on the relationship with Robinsons Brewery, Jill said: “The Robinsons family have always been so supportive of us, from the old generation to the new generation. We have loved working hand-in-hand with them for so long. We have always had the support we have needed by the brewery throughout difficult times. We couldn’t recommend Robinsons more, a true family company that looks after their customers and licensees.”
William Robinson, Managing Director – Pubs Division – for Robinsons Brewery commented on Dave and Jill’s legacy: “The connection that Dave has had with the Tiviot has been incredible, there are few families who can claim such a connection with a pub and few breweries who have had licensees and families running a pub for this length of time. I know that it has been a very difficult decision for Dave and Jill to decide to retire and leave the Tiviot, their contribution to the success of the pub simply cannot be measured. For them the pub was simply an extension of their family. We wish them all the best with their retirement and thank them very much for all the hard work they have put in over the years they have run the pub.”
The duo, along with lovable dog Doris, are now looking forward to a well-earned pint…on the other side of the bar.