Riddle over sudden demise of Wigan pub

A councillor says it would be a 'crying shame' if a landmark Wigan pub didn't continue to serve the local community.

Friday, 19th January 2018, 2:05 pm
Updated Friday, 19th January 2018, 3:10 pm
The Ben Jonson suddenly ceased trading

Mystery surrounds the future of the Ben Jonson Hotel, at Goose Green, after the lower floors were boarded up this week.

But Labour’s Coun Pat Holland, who represents Worsley Mesnes ward on Wigan Council, hopes that the hostelry will eventually reopen in the near future.

She told the Observer: “It is always a crying shame when pubs like this close.

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“I’ve a number of relatives who have called the Ben Jonson their local down the years and have used the pub for various functions.

“You hope that it is not going to be sold off for housing, as can often happen in these circumstances.

“It has always been a landmark for Goose Green and I wouldn’t like to think it could be lost for future generations.”

Real ale fans celebrated back in April when the Warrington Road venue, which had been closed for some time previously, started trading again.

No fewer than four renowned craft brews were lined up for the grand reopening and Wigan Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) representatives believed that the Ben Jonson would be “a welcome addition” to the town’s real ale scene.

Live music was also a regular feature every Friday night before the sudden closure.

When the Observer attempted to contact the phone number listed on the Facebook page for the Ben Jonson, no further information could be provided about what had led to the pub being shut, or whether it would be reopening in the near future.

The pub has been through a number of hands down the years, in line with a number of larger out-of-town alehouses.

Former Wigan and Warrington scrum-half Keith Holden ran the bar for a while, with his son-in-law, the late Wigan RL star Terry Newton, also assisting for a time.

Dave and Sheila Matthews had the Ben Jonson, a former Tetley Walkers house, for 15 years but were evicted in 2000 following a rent row with then-owners Vanguard Pubs.

The pub, when placed on the open market previously, has been valued by estate agents at around £225,000 .

But there is no sign of a similar move being considered on this occasion.