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Cheers all round as new owners bring pub back from the brink

By Mat Growcott | News | Published:

It's a traditional country pub, with log fires, wooden floors and a black and white facade.

Ken Lavender, who runs the Crown Inn pub with his wife Mary, says he is proud to bring life back to the village local

But just a year ago The Crown Inn in Claverley was dilapidated, falling apart and set to be forgotten.

It took three months and countless trips to the skip to get it fit for use again, but today it's becoming an increasingly popular part of village life.

The current owners spotted the pub in a Neglected Gems feature in the Bridgnorth Journal and snapped up the unique building.

A year later and Ken Lavender, who runs the pub with his wife Mary, said he loves life in Claverley.

"The floorboards were rotten, it wasn't safe to walk in here," he said. "It was dilapidated."

Ken, 59, first worked in the pub 35 years ago, helping tend bar when the landlord was away.

"The licensing was different in Wolverhampton, everywhere used to have to close an hour earlier," he said. "People used to flock to Claverley for the last hour.

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"I'm proud of being here again, and I want to put it back on the map.

"It was close to extinct. Now it's reopened it hasn't changed inside. There's wooden floors and red tiles down. We do proper pub grub. We do faggots, liver and home-cooked chips. That's not going to change."

Ken said there's still a place for traditional pubs, especially in smaller villages like Claverley.

"There's a great atmosphere here," he said. "You walk in and you feel the vibes.

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Singing

"There's something nice about it. Everybody talks to each other, even if they've never met.

"We don't do discos – we've got a ukulele band. We want to get back to the old days where people are singing at the piano. You've got the age group for that in Claverley – the younger ones tend to go to Bridgnorth."

Ken has found himself fitting into village life and he said those living in the village are happy to have their old pub back.

"This is a beautiful village," he said. "There's a 900-year-old pub just down the road from us.

"The Crown Inn can't be anything else but traditional. Why would you want to change a black and white pub?

"People around here don't want posh nosh all the time. They want down-to-earth food.

"A lot of the time people go into pubs and they want their food out in two minutes. People here know they might wait an hour for their food, but they know it's quality food. There's only one person in the kitchen. You tell people about the wait, and in the end they say it was worth it."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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