VIP official opening for latest Arkell's pub

By Barrie Hudson - 17 June 2022

BusinessFood & DrinkCommunity
  • HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, unveiling the plaque watched by James, left, and George Arkell

    HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, unveiling the plaque watched by James, left, and George Arkell

New Arkell's pub The Strawberry Thief has had its official opening.

The Tadpole Garden Village venue, named for a classic Victorian William Morris textile design showing thrushes, is the first new-build by the Swindon brewery in 20 years.
The opening ceremony centred around the unveiling of a plaque by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, and was attended by other VIPs including North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson, Mayor of Swindon Abdul Amin, brewery chairman James Arkell, managing director George Arkell and Head Brewer Alex Arkell.
Mrs Troughton said: "It is a real pleasure to be here. When you say the word, 'Arkell's', the very name is synonymous with Swindon and completely familiar to everyone who lives, probably, within 40 or 50 miles of the town.
"I think it's because your family is determined to keep the brewery a family business, and I suggest this is why it is still so successful. If you can add to that a certain charm, a certain style and business acumen, you're really onto a winner.
"I think the Arkell family for everything you do for Swindon and the borough and for all of us. You are very popular and much loved."
Justin Tomlinson, praised by James Arkell for staunchly supporting the project since its inception, said The Strawberry Thief was an excellent resource and that he was sure it would be well used.
Mr Tomlinson added: "As somebody who is a member of the all-party Parliamentary group for the been industry I'm very proud of this."
A blessing and prayer were led by Rev Lydia Morey of St Philips Upper Stratton.
The new neighbourhood pub, has over 400 covers inside and out, which makes it one of Arkell’s biggest pubs.  It is on Mackay Crescent and looks out onto green space and lakes.  
The brewery has invested more than £5m and created over 40 jobs in the pub for local people, and George Arkell said: “As a local family firm that has survived the pandemic, we are delighted to have opened a new pub in these challenging times.  
"We are extremely proud to be able to offer local employment to support the growing community of Swindon as well as a fantastic venue for the community.”

The team at the pub are headed by Tom and Mairead Titcombe, the new homegrown licensees, and Tom said: “We both started our careers in Arkell’s pubs and have been with the brewery at various venues since.” 

A William Morris theme runs through Tadpole Garden Village, including the names of local streets and the school.

The pub was designed by Clark & Maslin, an Architectural Practice based in Malmesbury, and Concorde BGW Group, and the main contractor was local firm Edmont Ltd.  

Craig Morton, Managing Director of Edmont, said: “On behalf of the Directors at Edmont, we would like to thank Arkell’s for appointing us as main contractor on this fantastic project.  As a greenfield site, the project has been a great success, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Arkell’s team led by George Arkell, Clark and Maslin, Concorde and the Edmont team.”

George Arkell added: “We are honoured to have HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire to officially open our fabulous brand-new pub.  We have done our best to use local specialists wherever possible, from Edmont leading the contract to local roofers, carpenters and the ground works team. 

"Everyone has done a fantastic job to bring this project to a reality since the turning of the sod, one year ago. Thank you to them all and the local community.” 


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