The Thatched House is back with its old landlord, a man with plans to put the pub at the heart of the community again.
Tom Gavaghan has returned to the pub in Dalling Road, Hammersmith, since leaving after six years in charge in 2008.
It had been known as the Butcher’s Hook in his absence but he said it was important to bring the historic name back.
“It’s about bringing the Thatched House story back. It’s been here for the past 160 years,” Tom said.
“It had lost its identity. I want it waving its flag as part of the community again. That’s what pubs are: they’re the heart of the community, they’re landmarks, they’re where people celebrate and commiserate and share their stories. It’s got to be part of the community, that’s what we do.”
One of Tom’s ideas to build strong community ties is to hold a Me Market on the first Saturday of every month where people can come and talk about what they do and share ideas.
He said: “If people have got a book they can talk about it, or if they’re a busker or an actor… There are so many skills, so much talent out there and pubs are the place to show that off.”
The first Me Market is planned for early October and Tom is working on other ideas to reach out to the community and bring people together, including a Christmas street party.
“This industry doesn’t always have to be about making money, that comes further down the line,” he said.
His approach certainly seems to work, The Andover Arms in Aldensley Road, Hammersmith, which he’s owned since 2007, was named Fuller’s Pub of the Year last year and was recently the number two pub to visit on the Trip Advisor website.
He is now in charge of three pubs; Tom took over the Lord Palmerston in Tufnell Park in April, before taking on the Thatched House in July.
He is also setting up PubDoctor.com which helps struggling and new landlords make successes of their pubs.
“It’s not just a job it’s a lifestyle. You’ve got to absolutely love it,” Tom said.