Historic hotel changes hands
A HISTORIC Ipswich hostelry is due to be taken over by new owners.The Great White Horse Hotel, in Tavern Street, is being bought by Citygate Developments of Norwich from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.
A HISTORIC Ipswich hostelry is due to be taken over by new owners.
The Great White Horse Hotel, in Tavern Street, is being bought by Citygate Developments of Norwich from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.
The pub closed its doors last night , but the prospective new owners, who said they were due to complete the deal on Friday , plan to reopen it shortly under new management.
In the longer term, they may convert the ground floor to retail use, with a café/bar/takeaway on its Northgate Street side. The hotel above and behind would remain.
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“It's closing tonight in its current ownership but we are in the process of letting it out to another operator so it will continue as a hotel and bar when we have got that operator in place. Given a week or so hopefully it'll reopen,” said Citygate finance director Philip Thorpe.
There was planning approval to convert the front into retail while retaining the hotel behind, said Mr Thorpe, added: “We'll be running it as a bar hotel at the moment, but longer term we may have a retailer in there.”
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Citygate, which is involved in property investment and some development work, plan was to bring in a new operator for the bar with a month's notice for either party, said. Mr Thorpe. He declined to reveal the sale price for the property.
The Great White Horse, which has a rich history and character, dates back to 1518 when it was known as The Tavern.
Famous guests over the centuries have included the Duke of Norfolk in the 1520s, Queen Elizabeth I's retinue, The Almanack author Dr Josiah Moore, King George II, Lord and Lady Nelson, Emma Hamilton, King Louis XVIII of France, novelist Charles Dickens and Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
Lee Hall, the licensee, said the future of the premises' staff, which number around 20, was still being discussed as the brewery had other pubs in Newmarket and Ipswich and some would be transferred.
“I believe it's a purely financial decision, just complete, pure business,” he said. “I have known about this since August last year. I knew about it before I moved here. I was sent to the Great White to manage the pub until the sale completion.”