New Rose to rise from the Rouge

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By JOHN WAKE­FIELD news@wok­ing­ham­pa­

A PUB that has been in ex­is­tence since the early 17th cen­tury is to be re­vived fol­low­ing the clo­sure of a Wok­ing­ham town cen­tre restau­rant.

Oak­man Inns has taken over the site of the for­mer Cafe Rouge in Mar­ket Place and said that it will soon be sub­mit­ted its plans for the re­fur­bish­ment of the inn that was once known as The Rose.

The com­pany said that there had been a Rose Inn on the site from at least 1634 – when King Charles was still in pos­ses­sion of his head – and it was a fa­mous rest­ing place and stopover for the Wok­ing­ham coaches that vis­ited the thriv­ing town.

It is hoped that the re­stored inn will be re­named The Rose Re­vived and its new own­ers are al­ready look­ing into some of the is­sues as­so­ci­ated with the restora­tion of some of the lost and pos­si­bly hid­den ar­chi­tec­tural charms.

Oak­man Inns CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, said: “Oak­man Inns has had a longheld am­bi­tion to have a pres­ence in Wok­ing­ham which we see as a pro­gres­sive and vi­brant town. We are very aware that the ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture works of the past two years have had its chal­lenges and we look for­ward to The Rose Re­vived play­ing a big part in the wider Wok­ing­ham resur­gence. The build­ing it­self presents us with an enor­mously ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity and be­hind each layer of mod­ern ad­di­tions you can still feel the his­tory of this won­der­ful build­ing.”

That his­tory in­cludes a lo­cal re­port which de­tailed one his­toric oc­ca­sion at The Rose, dur­ing a jour­ney in­ter­rupted by bad weather. With the roads im­pass­able, some of Bri­tain’s’ great­est minds and close friends passed some hours eat­ing and drink­ing.

They were John Gay, the poet (who wrote the Beg­gars Ban­quet), to­gether with his great friends, Dr John Ar­buth­not, (the satirist and poly­math who cre­ated that most Bri­tish of char­ac­ters, John Bull), to­gether with Jonathan Swift and Alexan­der Pope. To­gether they whiled away the time by com­mem­o­rat­ing in verse the charms of the land­lord’s daugh­ter.

With a firmly es­tab­lished rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing “kind” to their build­ings, the grow­ing pub group has a col­lec­tion of over 25 inns, pubs, bars and restau­rants, many of them Listed coach­ing inns or sig­nif­i­cant land­marks in mar­ket towns.

Oak­man Inns, al­though still re­garded as an SME, has been ranked for two con­sec­u­tive years as one of the UK’s top 20 em­ploy­ers by The Sun­day Times Best 100 Com­pa­nies to Work For. It said that The Rose Re­vived will be of­fer­ing al­most 50 em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Ap­pren­tice­ships.

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