It used to be a place for worshippers – now Lanyard is happy pub

The Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth. Picture: Wiki Commons (Labelled for reuse)

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In days gone by it was a church – now The Lanyard is a thriving community pub which prides itself on its original features.

It has stained glass windows, pews where people can sit to drink and eat and a cupboard where hymn books used to be stored.

There is also an original wrought-iron balcony and stone stairs which lead up to the first floor.

The venue in London Road, North End, Portsmouth, was formerly North End Baptist Church and was converted in 2004 following a £500,000 makeover.

Ken Moore, 52, has come back to manage the pub after previously holding the role there between 2006 and 2010.

‘The fact that the place used to be a church is a selling point,’ he said.

‘People sit and have a good look around to get a good feel of the place.

‘It’s a high street venue which is very much a community pub.

‘Of course, we just get the people who come out shopping, but we get our regular set of customers too.’

Ken says the pub has the biggest screen for watching sports in the city.

‘We cater for everybody,’ he said.

‘You can come in here, sit in the corner and have a quiet pint or shout when the sports are on until you are hoarse.’

The pub has a couple of real ales as well as bottled and real ciders. There’s also a new menu which offers visitors more than just traditional pub grub.

And there’s plans to do events for charity in the future. Ken, who has a team of 13 bar and kitchen staff, has hired a DJ who wants to start making those arrangements.

Ken, who grew up in Ranelagh Road, Stamshaw, said he doesn’t plan to make big changes, and wants to make sure the little things are done right first.

‘We want to try and give people more consistency to what we offer,’ he said.

‘What we want to do is get the small things right and do them well. We want to give people the right pint in the right pint glass and good quality food. You need to do those things before coming up with any major plans.’

Barmaid Sue Brown, 44, who lives in Nelson Avenue, North End, has worked at the pub since it opened.

‘I just love the people,’ she said.

‘North End is a really close community. It’s an atmospheric pub. The area has changed a lot in the last 10 years, there used to be a lot more small shops and community pubs.

‘But we have been quite lucky. Ken has come back to drive the pub forward.’

COMMUNITY-MINDED manager Ken Moore has worked in other pubs in Portsmouth.

He ran The Florence Arms, in Florence Road, Southsea, for three years as well as The Pelham Arms, in Chichester Road, North End.

But he’s decided to come back to The Lanyard because he feels there is a draw about the place.

Ken, who has only been back in charge for a week, said: ‘There must be something about the old girl which has made me want to come back.’

Ken wants to build up trade and says he fondly remembers the time when more than a hundred people queued outside his door to come and watch the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

‘I want people to come and go with big smiles on their faces again,’ he said.

‘I get huge satisfaction out of seeing that and making that happen.

‘Things have changed since I was last here.

‘Back then Pompey were still in the Premier League and we had won and lost the FA Cup.

‘What I love about this job is all the different people you meet.

‘I’ve seen it all.

‘I liked those days where people would recognise you down the street and shake your hand.

‘The company I work for is extremely supportive, they are constantly looking at ways of improving the business and making the products we sell better.

‘I also work with a fantastic team.

‘I want the customers to know my name and that’s rare to see in businesses these days. Not many people know those who are higher up than them.’