The great British institution that is the public house is dying. With news that they are closing at a rate of one every 12 hours and that the number of small pubs has almost halved from 38,830 in 2001 to 22,840 in 2018, the bad news for drinkers continues and this morning a startling example was revealed in the form of an Essex pub being offered for sale for just £1 ($1.29, €1.16 or درهم4.75).
Situated on the Blackwater Estuary and close to the 16 acre, 296 unit Mill Beach Seaside Resort static caravan site, the former Mill Beach Pub at Heybridge Basin, near Maldon was closed in November 2018 and boarded up in April 2019.
The free of tie, waterside public house is described as dating to the 12th century, but has developed over the years into something quite ramshackle – complete with a number of ugly flat roofed extensions. It is now offered for sale by agents Sidney Phillips. Their brief marketing material refers to the detached building having 2,382 square foot of bar and dining areas and 4 bedroom “accommodation” also. They laud the “extensive garden areas” and car parking for 50 cars, but note also that the pub is “in need of full refurbishment.”
Of the Mill Beach Pub, in April, a local resident, Lyz Barnard, told the Maldon Standard:
“Whoever owns the place now has had to put actions in place to stop people from getting in and damaging the inside.
“It is such a shame it is just sitting and being wasted,… I just hope that whoever takes it on will be able to restore it to what it once was.”
“Many people in the area remember spending their childhoods there; it was so popular for hosting live music, its cockle sheds and it was central to the community.”
Elsewhere, in The Telegraph yesterday, news of a far more successful pub was reported on. In a feature by Stephen Harris, the chef and owner of The Sportsman at Seasalter, near Whitstable in Kent, analysed his success in the 20 years since he took over what an equally “grotty run-down pub by the sea.” With his pub having gained a Michelin star in 2008 and being awarded the best restaurant in the UK in 2016 and 2017, here is a lesson to whoever puts up the quid for the Mill Beach Pub: Focus on becoming the very best destination drinking and dining spot and you’ll likely prosper.