IT WAS feared an historic Fratton pub would never reopen.
But now The Florist, in Fratton Road, has been saved – and new manager Julie Taylor wants to turn around its fortunes with the help of her friends and daughter Lisa.
Julie, of Southsea, was asked by a London pub firm to run the pub, which dates back to the 1920s, after it bought it off Wadworth Brewery for an undisclosed fee.
The former East London resident, who also runs The Victory, at The Hard, Portsea, gladly took up the offer because she loves the look of the place.
But in the spirit of our Love Your Local campaign, she reopened it on Sunday and after spreading the word on Facebook and arranging for a band to perform almost 100 people showed up.
‘The place is beautiful,’ Julie said.
‘I didn’t think twice about running it because it’s such a prominent building on Fratton Road.
‘I don’t have any radical plans, I think the look of the place is fantastic the way it is.
‘I got the word out on Facebook that it was reopening and I put on a band on the Sunday which went down really well.
‘I was so pleased by the turnout. The re-opening of this pub is great news for the community.
‘I want the place to be like it was in the old days. It used to be full of people.
‘I’m going to get stocked up on real ales and at the moment we’ve got one on the go. My daughter helps me out at The Victory and she’s here with me at The Florist too.
‘I’ve also got some friends mucking in too.’
As previously reported in The News, The Florist – which was originally built for the former Portsea-based Brickwoods Brewery – was put up for sale in May and has stood empty all summer.
Fears were raised by Fratton ward councillor David Fuller and Nigel Tresidder, landlord of the nearby Newcome Arms pub, in Newcome Road, Kingston, that the pub would be sold to a private developer.
Julie added: ‘It’s a shame that so many of Portsmouth’s old pubs are closing down.
‘I know times have changed but if you can try and bring in a bit of old trade then that’s great.
‘I really want to make a go of it at The Florist.
‘I’m hoping to introduce food in time for the Christmas season and have the place heaving.’