A PROMINENT Hereford pub was treated to a half-a-million pound revamp after sitting empty and vandalised at one of the gateways to the city.

The Swan, at the bottom of Aylestone Hill in Hereford, had been empty for over a year when it was put on the market by owners Whitbread in 1992.

Prospective buyers tendered for the run-down pub, and in March that year Mr Wong, of The Mayflower Restaurant in Hereford's High Town, said he was interested in moving his Chinese restaurant to the pub.

But the pub remained empty by July, with Whitbread then confirming it was taking it off the market and that it were hoping to develop the pub itself.

A brewery spokesperson said at the time that architects had been instructed to come up with a major refurbishment scheme as quickly as possible, and that the Swan would remain a pub, to be offered on a 20-year lease.

But while many in Hereford would likely have hoped that would be the end of the saga, it was not to be.

The pub stayed empty and uncertainty over the future of the site swirled, while legal action was taken in 1993 to evict a travelling community who had taken up residence there.


In April 1994, hopes were again raised, when Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries, the makers of Banks's beers bought the pub from Whitbread.

The brewery said they would be investing some £200,000 into renovating the dilapidated building, with plans to open in September or October.

For some months it may have seemed as if history was repeating itself, as delays to their plans meant works did not start until January 1995.

The result, the Hereford Times reported in May 1995 was a transformation, with the old building 'virtually demolished' and rebuilt to double the size under the supervisions of the brewery's project designer David Taylor.

The Swan was officially re-opened later that month by Mayor of Hereford Kit Gundy, with former landlord of The Golden Fleece in St Peter's Square, Phil Taylor, taking the helm with his wife Mal.