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Makeover for historic The Crown Hotel in Holbeach as new management arrives




A Holbeach pub, steeped in history, is being given a fresh look and feel as new management takes over.

Martin Forward (36) and his husband John Budworth (32) are now running The Crown Hotel in West End and want to see it become a 'real community-based local.’

The chance to take over the pub came out of the blue for the couple, who are originally from Coventry.

Martin Forward and John Budworth outside The Crown Hotel in Holbeach
Martin Forward and John Budworth outside The Crown Hotel in Holbeach

“It’s a bit of a strange one,” said Martin. “John's grandad drinks in the pub and it then came up on the market.

“There was talk of it maybe being made into flats so we decided to take it on to keep it open for people.”

The pub, a Grade II listed building, is believed to date back to the early 1700s.

Martin Forward and John Budworth with staff Amanda Ingle, Jen Ingle and Helen Barnes
Martin Forward and John Budworth with staff Amanda Ingle, Jen Ingle and Helen Barnes

“We think it was built around 1722,” Martin said. “We’ve also found an old photo of the pub from the beginning of the 1800s.

“We plan to let the rooms out at affordable prices for people visiting the area.

“Previously, the rooms have been used by contractors. We are looking to offer rooms for all sorts of people who are coming to the area for a weekend or a week. There’s a nice draw history-wise with lovely villages and places to ramble and it’s a good central location to visit other places such as Boston or Spalding.”

And he says he hopes to see new teams get going in the pub such as in darts and dominoes to help combat loneliness.

Martin and John in the new lounge in The Crown
Martin and John in the new lounge in The Crown

Another future idea is to provide a place for people with dementia and their carers to meet.

The new look lounge provides a quieter area for people to socialise in, away from the main bar, if they wish.

And food is on the menu, served seven days a week, with a roast on offer on Sundays.

The Crown Hotel, Holbeach, pictured in the 1800s. (14620579)
The Crown Hotel, Holbeach, pictured in the 1800s. (14620579)

Martin added: "We also have zero tolerance for any anti-social behaviour."

While the pub is being given a new look, the couple are still making sure they keep its original character, including its open fire.

The Crown Hotel, Holbeach, pictured in the 1800s. (14620582)
The Crown Hotel, Holbeach, pictured in the 1800s. (14620582)

Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth, who is also portfolio holder for growth and commercialisation for South Holland District Council, welcomed the news.

Speaking in early August about the plans for the pub, he told us: “There’s some great entrepreneurship in the town, with some great stuff being done too with The Chequers and The Bell.

“The Crown has quite a character to it. I think it is really nice and I am sure this will be welcomed."

In a time when town centres are struggling with footfall, Coun Worth said that leisure enterprises can help encourage people in.

“I welcome it and good luck to them,” he added.


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