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Abingdon inn will go back to future with £1.4m revamp
Buy this photo » Grand plans: The Crown and Thistle Hotel at Abingdon
THE new owner of one of Abingdon’s most historic hotels is planning to take it back in time.
Oakman Inns purchased the Crown and Thistle in Bridge Street last year for £1.6m and is now planning a £1.4m renovation to restore the 17th Century coaching inn to its former glory.
This week it hosted an exhibition about the pub – past, present and future – to outline its plans.
Visitors to the exhibition learnt about the hotel’s 400-year history.
The artist, and founder of Ruskin College in Oxford, John Ruskin, lived at The Crown and Thistle at one point and American actor Douglas Fairbanks Junior was a regular when he had a boat on the Thames nearby during the 1930s.
Abingdon mayor Monica Lovatt said: “With the Nag’s Head and the Broad Face under new ownership, that part of town is really being pulled up to what it should be.
“I think it will be very stylish.”
Oakman Inns chief executive officer Peter Borg-Neal’s plans include renovating a currently unused barn to create a function room, and “addressing” some of the 20th century alterations.
He said: “Our ethos is to build successful modern pubs that really do sit at the centre of their community. Pubs that become the meeting place for local people and the place to network for the town’s business groups – pubs that support local charities and sports clubs, and that help town centres to thrive.
“All those who have seen the exhibition so far have given us both supportive and positive feedback.”
Oakman Inns also owns the Old Post Office in Wallingford, bought in 2008, and Blue Boar in Witney, formerly The Marlborough Hotel, which it re-opened in December 2011 after a £1.6m refurbishment.
The Crown and Thistle exhibition runs until Thursday from 8am to 8pm daily, and visitors are encouraged to make comments on the feedback forms provided.
Oakman is hoping to submit a planning application later this month.
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