DOWN THE PUB - Pieman has recipe for pub success

Former landlord Steve Hart hands over the keys to new owner Martin Edwards
Former landlord Steve Hart hands over the keys to new owner Martin Edwards

THE best landlords undoubtedly put in a serious shift blending the daily ingredients that make up a truly great pub.

But at least that doesn’t include being up well before even the most bleary eyed of milkman to start mine hosts’ working day.

The new landlord of The Fox and Goose in Wigan Lane, Martin Edwards, was used to having to drag himself out of bed at a truly terrifying 4am every day to bike his way to the legendary family owned Edwards bakery in Platt Bridge.

That was unless he wanted to face the wrath of his Dad, the late and popular king of the Wigan piemen, Bill Edwards.

His family were hit by traumatic treble tragedy, of course, in recent times.

First a fire completely razed the old bakery in New Street to the ground.

And this has subsequently been followed by the loss of Bill in July 2012, along with his Mum.

Now baker’s son Martin is up for the positive challenge of running his first ever pub.

In fact, he completed the deal to buy the lively ‘Let’s Do The Lane’ pub from Steve Hart, who has had it for more than a quarter of a century, just four days ago.

The two became friends from opposite sides of the bar when Martin became a regular at Gem’s, one of a number of high profile town centre pubs which were once part of the Hart domain.

Martin is already discussing paint schemes, carpets and fittings with decorators, and the possibility of increasing the beer list to include guest ales from possibly our two leading local breweries.

But don’t expect too radical a shake up of what is already a pretty successful recipe for a good night out.

He has a professional chef in the family – brother Duncan was the man who came up with the amazing range of themed pies for which Edwards became so well known.

But there are no plans to introduce food at what is still very much a “wet” pub, although he certainly hopes to make it busier mid week.

Martin said: “This opportunity came up and I thought about it for a couple of months before coming to thinking, ‘why not?’

“I have known Steve on and off for 25 years or so from going into Gems and the Fox and Goose itself for years because I used to live in Wigan Lane and for the last 12 or 18 months, with the way things have been going for our family, he has been a big support really.

“He has also been giving me the opportunity to learn bits and pieces from him so I am not going into it unprepared.

“I’m by no means the finished model of course but I more than prepared to live and learn on the job.

“I have a few ideas about getting a few more through the doors in midweek, such as introducing a darts team and the manageress Carol used to play at one time so maybe a women’s team as well.”