Former landlord returns to run George and Dragon

George and Dragon, Hudswell. Photo: Google.

Former landlord Stuart Miller has been appointed to run the community-owned George and Dragon in Hudswell.

Board members from Hudswell Community Pub Ltd (HCP), along with volunteers and bar staff have been running the pub since mid-September after the previous tenants left.

The board has also been searching for a new tenant to take on the pub.

Caron Grundy, one of the HCP directors on the interview panel, said: “We had a lot of interest, and this led to three high quality applications.

“We would just like to thank the three applicants for their excellent presentations, they were all convincing proposals and all a little different.

“This made our decision very difficult, but in the end we decided to offer the tenancy to Stuart.

“Stuart will take over the tenancy from December 18. The pub will be closed for a few days whilst the tenancy is handed over, reopening for business on December 22, just in time for Christmas.”

Stuart was the tenant at the George and Dragon for eight years from 2014 to 2022.

Board members say his tenancy was highly successful and lead to the George and Dragon winning numerous awards, including the CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2017.

Stuart said: “I am delighted to be taking on the George and Dragon again after a 16-month break.

“I think that we must adapt to the times and will be running the pub slightly differently in the future.

“With so many pub closures, particularly in rural areas, I think we need a new more sustainable model. We will build on our previous success with cask ale and supplement this with a more modern craft beer offering as well as our excellent range of quality wines and spirits.

“We are looking to operate with more flexible opening hours, reflecting the different seasons but will concentrate our efforts on the busiest times providing a varied offering of food.  This will give us time to organise more events, plus support local clubs and community social gatherings during the week.

“I am also looking forward to holding a number of beer festivals through the year. Keep an eye on our website and social media pages for updates.”

HCP board member Ian Whinray added: “Having run the pub ourselves for over two months we are acutely aware of how difficult it is, and now having gained that understanding we are looking forward to working closely with Stuart as he takes the George and Dragon forward into a new era for our famous village pub.

“We would also like to thank all the staff and volunteers that helped to keep the pub open, from; cleaning, gardening, painting, working behind the bar, waitressing and many other jobs that keep the pub running.”

Also on the interview panel was fellow director, Tim Swettenham, who said: “I am hugely impressed by the way the community and the board rallied together in response to the Herculean challenge of re-equipping, refurbishing, keeping the pub open and the selecting a new tenant from such strong candidates.

“We are a relatively small community that punches well above its weight by displaying vision and commitment to ensuring the continuing success of an important local institution. As a community pub we are accountable to our members, and we were convinced that Stuart’s proposal was the best to guarantee the future of the pub.”

He added: “We are currently looking for new members to join HCP and help us to build a new future for the George and Dragon.

If anyone would like to join and invest £500 or more in our Community Benefit Society, please contact us at membership@georgeanddragonhudswell.com.”

1 Comment

  1. Now that’s what I call good news. Stuart ran a fantastic pub and we’ll be back to support him 👏👏

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