Infamous pub could get new lease of life

Old pub: As a shop in 60s
Old pub: As a shop in 60s
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Drinkers will travel back in history if a trendy new bar is given the green light on the site of an infamous city centre pub.

A gin and beer house is being planned for Friargate, Preston in a former hotel which was once a “disreputable” drinking den dating back more than 200 years.

The Plough Inn, built around 1796 and renamed the Hotel National in 1882, gave up selling alcohol decades ago.

But parts of the original alehouse still exist - particularly the cellar - and will be incorporated into the new bar if the city council gives the go-ahead to return it to its former use.

The new-look “Plau” micro bar, next door to Roper Hall, is designed to be an “intimate venue holding up to 50 customers, where people can meet and enjoy independently produced craft products in relaxed and beautiful surroundings,” according to applicant Jeremy Rowlands who also has interests in other licensed premises in the city, including The Continental.

“This is a hidden and important piece of Preston’s heritage,” he added.

Earliest records show the Plough Inn existed in the late 18th century. It earned a colourful reputation with an article in a newspaper dated 1840 describing it as “a house well-known to the police as a disreputable one.”

In 1868 landlord Thomas Crane was fined £50 for having an illicit whisky still in the premises.

After it eventually closed as a pub, the property was used for retail, with well-known watchmaker George Klieve running his business there in the 1960s. It is currently in use selling clothing and accessories, together with a tattoo and piercing studio.

If the plans are passed, work is expected to start in November, with a December opening a possibility.