We don’t often get to see a new pub opening in Bloxwich and, though not strictly ‘brand’ new, The Lady Diana, in Park Road, is still something of a surprise – and a pleasant one at that.
It’s not that long ago that the only thing you would hear about pubs in Bloxwich was the cry of “bring out yer dead!”, but thanks to some new blood coming into the trade courtesy of Kenny Wallace, who reopened and to some extent reinvented The Prince of Wales, on High Street, back in May 2010, and who has now joined forces with a new business partner, there seems to be something of a resurgence in High Street/Park Road watering holes in the village.
Many will remember The Lady Diana’s predecessor, The Carousel, which was knocked together from a small row of Victorian cottages back in the 1980s, and converted into the then trendy wine bar, Chimneys. In the 1990s Chimneys was refitted as a small pub, The Carousel, presumably named as a nod towards legendary Bloxwich resident and fairground mogul Pat Collins.
But over the years, The Carousel gained itself something of a ‘reputation’, and it eventually fell foul of the economic downturn and the smoking ban, opening and closing several times before shutting for good, it seemed, earlier this year.
Enter stage left Kenny Wallace, saviour of The Prince of Wales, and his new business partner Stuart Day, resulting in the surprise transformation of The Carousel into The Lady Diana, renamed to complement The Prince of Wales, as I found out today from Stuart’s wife Audrey, who is manager of the new pub. Yes, I wondered about the name too – now it all makes sense!
The pub has been refurbished inside and out (though there is still a little exterior painting to complete), and with its two real fires, new seating and simple but smart redecoration, certainly looks the biz – especially with evidence of a ‘mod’ theme going on, what with the scooter pictures, 1960s photos and other decorative items on the walls. It turns out that Stuart Day is a bit of a scooter fan, though he currently doesn’t ride out on one, having been forced to dispose of his trusty Vespa due to lack of space at his previous pub.
The new pub, which is a Free House, has two small bars arranged in an L-shape as is the bright and airy room, and there is also a patio to the rear. The drink on tap is the usual keg beers and lagers, including Boddingtons, Banks’s Mild and Bitter, Guiness, Carling, and Strongbow cider, as well as a range of spirits. Not a real ale fan’s dream then, but good standard stuff.
There is large-screen tv at both ends of the ‘L’, plus two games machines and some disco gear in evidence ’round the bend’ in the foot of the ‘L’. The former pool table from the Carousel days is no more.
Opening hours are 11am-11pm seven days a week, over-21’s only admitted, and their telephone number is 078177 48523.
The Lady Diana opened on 18 November, even before the exterior renovation was completed, and is currently rebuilding its clientele. We certainly wish the new management the very best of luck, and hope to down a pint or two there soon.
On the evidence of this observer’s eyes, it shouldn’t be too long before things are looking fab for them!