Wetherspoons spends £700k restoring ornate ceiling of former opera house

Wetherspoons spends £700k restoring ornate ceiling of former opera house

11/10/2021

DRINKERS at Britain’s poshest Wetherspoons raise the roof after a £700,000 restoration of the ornate domed ceiling at the former opera house.

The building, dating from 1902, is now hitting the high notes again in Tunbridge Wells, Kent — and the drinks are going for a song too.


Local Andrew Cameron, 53, said: “It’s £2 a pint but the setting is so fancy you’d expect to be paying over the odds.”

“A lot of Wetherspoon buildings are historic but this one is really special.

"You get people complaining that the building is used as a pub but what would it be if it it wasn’t?

"It would probably be unused and falling down. They’re just snobs.”

Craig Beardmore, Wetherspoon’s property manager said: “With all historical buildings, essential improvements are required to ensure that they never reach that critical stage.”

The original 1,100 capacity opera house, built in 1902, was turned into a cinema in 1931.

During World War Two, a Luftwaffe pilot dropped an incendiary bomb to save fuel on his way back to Germany.

It didn't explode but got caught in the proscenium arch and set the stage on fire.

After a renovation, J D Wetherspoon bought the historic site in 1996 and turned it into a public house.

Ross Markwick, pub manager at the Opera House, said: “Our pub is housed in a local historic landmark enjoyed by so many people.

"As the current custodians, Wetherspoon is responsible to ensure its preservation for now and the future."



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