Hikes to gas and electricity bills have seen Britain enter crisis, with many venues and businesses already considering their futures ahead of the upcoming cold months.
One such hostelry that has been heavily impacted by rising costs is Britain’s “oldest” pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans. The historic site is believed to have welcomed in Viking or two, having survived plagues, civil and world wars and is even thought to have housed Oliver Cromwell for a night in the seventeenth century. If claims are accurate, the pub opened in 793 AD, so it’s definitely been through the ringer. It can definitively be traced back to the 11th century, so, either way, it’s pretty old.
In fact, earlier this year, the pub was on the brink of closure after struggling for two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw pubs across the country shut their doors for months on end. Thankfully, after the pub went on the lookout for new licensees, it reopened under the new three-pronged ownership of Martin Robinson, head chef Ian Baulsh, and Sam Walker.
Speaking to the Metro, Walker said that this winter would be one the pub’s “biggest tests” yet, and General manager, Ronan Gaffney, said: “It’s outrageously more expensive. It’s not like at home where you can turn everything off but the fridge and freezer – we’ve got certain things that need to stay on for health and safety and general upkeep.
“And our light bill is 10 times more than what it is in a house because at home you can turn off all the lights except the one you’re in, but you can’t do that in a pub.
“So, we don’t have a choice, we can’t really cut down on energy bills but we are being charged double the amount.”
If claims are accurate, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub opened in 793 AD, so it’s definitely been through the ringer. It can definitively be traced back to the 11th century, so, either way, it’s pretty damn old. It’s had its current title since 1872, and we hope that the open sign can sit alongside its name long beyond this winter.