New lease of life for 200-year-old canalside pub
The Navigation Inn, by the Grand Union Canal in Cosgrove, was built in 1809 and is being turned into a ‘destination pub’ by pub chain Oakman Inns and brewery Greene King.
A team of more than 40 builders has been working on site since November last year with the pub due to reopen on June 6.
Refurbishment work has included exposing original stonework, reinstating previously blocked up fireplaces and a large extension with an outside decking area overlooking the canal. There will also be landscaping and a paved area by the canal and a new car park has been created.
The restaurant will have seating for up to 85 diners with further seating for 50 on the outside decking area.
By the canal in the landscaped garden there will be tables and chairs for up to 50 to dine or drink with further informal seating including wooden picnic tables for 30.
Project manager Malcolm Schooling said the refurbishment had been challenging.
He said: “There had been a chain of different people running the pub. It needed to be shut down or invested in.
“It hasn’t received proper investment for decades. Unlocking the site’s potential is the key thing that has happened here.”
He added: “Where the new part of the pub joins onto the original we also discovered the back of the building had to be underpinned. It has been quite challenging.”
General manager, Rod Stewart, has 20 years hotel and restaurant experience including 12 years in Bermuda running restaurants, where he was also a part-time reserve policeman and played international rugby for Bermuda.
He said: “I am thoroughly looking forward to the opening. It is by far one of the best looking pubs I have worked with.”
The Navigation Inn will be using modern cooking equipment in its kitchen including a Josper charcoal grill and a pizza oven. The inside of the kitchen will also be visible to diners.
Beef will be sourced from suckler herds in England and Scotland while the pork is outdoor reared in Norfolk and Suffolk. Lamb will be from Cornwall while fish is locally caught on the east and south coasts. The bar will also be serving local ales.
Recruitment and training of 30 staff is underway. Staff will include baristas, chefs and front of house.
The pub will be catering for a variety of diners from those who just want a cup of coffee and a pastry to those who want a full meal. It is also hoped the pub will be an attraction for boaters.
It will also be doing its bit for charity with 25p from every pork belly sold going to Harry’s Rainbow Charitable Trust.
To find out more, visit www.thenavigationcosgrove.co.uk.