Derelict Portsmouth pub gets new lease of life

The Market House Tavern when it was still open
The Market House Tavern when it was still open
John and Aneta Orlowska with Nicola and Luke Bailey

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A DERELICT pub in the centre of Portsmouth is being given a new lease of life.

The Market House Tavern, in Mile End Road, Buckland, is being turned into bed and breakfast accommodation.

The Grade-II listed building, which has kept the same name for 150 years, will be renamed Ferry House Lodge once the first phase of work is completed in the next couple of weeks.

The place will then be opened and guests can stay in 12 rooms.

Work could then begin on an extension with an extra 16 rooms if there’s enough money in the pot.

A bar and restaurant could be added if a licence is granted.

The development, which started in March this year, is being spearheaded by Paul Wilkinson, landlord of The George Hotel, in Queen Street, Portsea, and David Reed, of The White Horse, in Southsea Terrace, Southsea.

Paul said: ‘The work is coming to an end now.

‘Everyone who has seen it thinks it looks lovely from the outside.

‘All the interior work is coming along now.

‘Hopefully it will look the way we want it to.

‘It’s such a beautiful building and it’s one of the first ones you see as you go into town.’

A University of Portsmouth graduate will be hired as manager and a 
sign on the front is due to go up next week.

Paul said: ‘Unfortunately on the front there are not a lot of redeeming features but we have tried to do something sympathetic so that it brings the building back to its former glory.

‘A lot of hard work has been put into this project and the budget has doubled.

‘For a listed building, it’s almost like a new build.

‘I hope it will contribute to the regeneration of the city.

‘It will house people coming to Portsmouth for a weekend.’

The pub was originally part of the Pike Spicer Brewery’s estate before being handed over to Brickwoods Brewery. Later on it was run by private operators Pubfolio.

Rooms for people to stay in existed at one stage.

Despite there being a refurbishment in 2007, plans were submitted to either turn the premises into a veterinary surgery or a large hotel.

The pub closed earlier this year.