Historic Stamford pub reopens after being battered by storm

Bar manager, Malcolm Brown with licensees Carole Frith and Paul Frith. By Lee Hellwing.
Bar manager, Malcolm Brown with licensees Carole Frith and Paul Frith. By Lee Hellwing.

A historic Stamford pub is set to reopen its doors after a storm caused £250,000 worth of damage to it.

On February 23 this year Storm Doris moved across the UK bringing winds of more than 90mph.

The ferocity of the storm caused a 30ft-high brick chimney at the Millstone Inn to collapse through its cellar ceiling, which left the pub unable to trade as falling debris destroyed gas and water pipes as well as beer coolers.

But today following extensive repairs the Grade I listed pub in All Saints Street will be opening its doors again.

Bar manager, Malcolm Brown, 63, said: “It is just nice to be able to get back into the place, to get back into the swing of it, to get back to normal again.

“It has been badly missed. I have missed the conversation of the customers and the banter with customers. I am just looking forward to seeing all the friendly faces again.”

Working in the pub at the time of the shocking incident, which occurred at 2.30pm, was Michael Frith, his father and licensee Paul Frith plus Clare Harris, who along with several customers escaped injury.

The staff immediately evacuated the customers from the pub and called firefighters who had to act fast and cut off the gas supply due to leak.

Carole Frith, 46, fellow licensee of the pub and former wife of Paul, said: “We were relieved that nobody was hurt. My eldest son [Michael] was in the back, he had just passed the doorway [to the cellar] when it happened. A member of staff [Clare] had also been in there five minutes before it happened.

“Michael and Clare heard a big crash and they went to investigate and saw all the rubble in the back. Clare was very, very shook up about it. From mine and Michael’s point of view we were very relieved that nobody was hurt.”

Carole was on holiday in Lanzarote with Malcolm, who is now her partner, at the time of the incident.

She had been sent photographs of the damage while she was away but said she did not appreciate the extent of it until she returned home to Stamford. Carole, who lived at the pub, was forced to seek alternative accommodation while work was being carried out but has now moved back in.

“I didn’t realise the damage had been caused until you see it for yourself. When you see it on the photographs it is not clear,” she said.

While the work on the building was being carried out, a pre-planned refurbishment of the beer garden was also completed.

Due to the refurbishment, which has seen several new benches installed as well as booths, the beer garden is able to increase its capacity from 60 to 150, making it the biggest beer garden in Stamford town centre.

The decking in the beer garden is made out of composite resin and replaces the previous decking which was made out of wood which had started to rot and become unstable.

The pub will open between noon and midnight today, tomorrow and Sunday.

From Monday onwards it will open between 10am and 12pm everyday.

The official reopening of the pub will take place on Spring Bank Holiday, Monday, May 29 and will include karaoke, a barbecue and a performance by Peterborough singer Lee Joshua Rose.

The Millstone Inn dates to the late 17th century and retains its original distinctive gabled bay with mullion windows.

Its old carriage entrance to the right of the building still exists but has been blocked to provide accommodation.