Wellington Hotel: Famous Rochdale landmark set to be re-opened as gastro-pub
Date published: 25 August 2017
Sarah and Michael Howarth and Darren Wright with leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Richard Farnell
One of the most well-known and historic buildings in Rochdale, the grade II listed former Wellington Hotel on Drake Street, is set to re-open this weekend following a £200,000 refurbishment.
What was the town’s leading coach house during the Victorian period, is to be serving food and drinks once again as the Wellington, after owners Mike and Sarah Howarth gave the three-storey property a new lease of life.
The building has a rich history, first opening in 1750 as private residence. It was later a girls’ boarding school, before it became the Duke of Wellington Hotel in 1810, which was the leading coach house in the area.
The ‘Speaker's Corner’ in front of the hotel hosted a crowd of 8,000 following the Reform Act of 1832.
More recently it was the Nile nightclub, but the building has been empty for around five years
The Wellington Hotel in 1944
The couple, who also run Vicolo Del Vino wine bar in Rochdale town centre and Benjamin’s Italian take away, off Sandy Lane, will initially be serving just drinks, with a traditional British menu set to be served by the end of the year.
Mr Howarth said: “Rochdale has a got huge potential to be a real destination again and we want to be part of that.
"Vicolo Del Vino has been really popular since it opened, so we know there’s an audience for good quality food and drink in the town centre.
"The council is really pushing the regeneration and have been behind us every step of the way on this latest project.
“I love the fact that we are at the crossroads of the old and new Rochdale here. On one side we have the re-opened river and Rochdale Town Hall on the other we have all the new development, like the Metrolink. Once the new shopping and leisure development is complete, it will be even better.”
The Wellington will serve a variety of drinks, including champagne and prosecco by the glass, as well as real ales, amid vintage-modern style surroundings, with grandfather clocks, Victorian fireplaces and chandeliers.
The couple, who own the business with local builder Darren Wright, will open just the ground floor initially, with a function room for weddings and other celebrations set to be completed on the second floor next May, alongside office space for rent on the third floor.
Mr Howarth added: “This definitely won’t be a run of the mill pub. We have got beautiful features and each room will be themed. Some areas will be cosy, with 1920s-style lamps, while others will be like an old gentleman’s club from the Victorian period.
"The Wellington Hotel was the once the best pub in Rochdale and we want it to be the best pub in Rochdale once again.
“There is money to be spent here and we want it to stay in the borough. There is a lot going on in Rochdale and as the regeneration continues and more places like this open, more people will come into town.”
Councillor Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The Wellington Hotel was originally open when Rochdale was a driving force in commerce and wealth creation. It feels very fitting that it has now re-opened as part of the regeneration of Rochdale, which has brought new forms of investment into the borough and points to a future which is even more exciting than its past. I wish Mike and Sarah every success with their new venture.”
The Wellington will open on Saturday (26 August) at 12 noon. The opening hours will be 12 noon to 12 midnight, Sunday to Thursday and from 12 noon to 1am on Friday and Saturday.
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