A PUB named after one of Hereford's most famous sons was brought back to life in 1997, after standing empty and boarded up for some time.

The old David Garrick was named for the famed and influential 18th century Hereford-born actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, who was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner after his death in 1779.

Hereford Times: David Garrick, painted by Thomas GainsboroughDavid Garrick, painted by Thomas Gainsborough (Image: Stock)

The pub had for many years been home to the Ulu Bar, run by former SAS soldier Frank Williams, and where curry and beer suppers could be enjoyed amidst unusual jungle themed decor, was standing empty by the mid-1990s.

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But in January 1997, plans were announced by Regent Inns to reopen the pub, with a planning application lodged with Herefordshire Council.

Hereford Times: The boarded-up pub in Hereford in 1997The boarded-up pub in Hereford in 1997 (Image: Hereford Times)

The company said it wanted to extend the premises by converting a malthouse behind the next door chemists shop, while an indoor bar and servery would be approached through a seating area, with further seating to the rear.

It would reopen as Watercress Harry's in the late 90s, receiving an unusual lime green and black paint job in the 2010s, before closing its doors again in January 2015, when the then-management announced they would not be renewing the lease on the St Peter's Street bar.


The future again looked uncertain for the pub, which stood empty for more than a year.

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But in September 2016, new life was again brought to the venue, as former Barclays bank manager Robert Gordon Bennett opened the pub under the name Gordon Bennetts, which it remains today.

Mr Bennett had taken the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy to do something completely new.

Hereford Times: Gordon BennettsGordon Bennetts (Image: Google Maps)

“I wanted a total change and it is a total change. I purchased the Watercress Harry's building and spent the last four months pulling it apart and putting it back again," he told the Hereford Times at the time.

He said Gordon Bennetts would focus on real ales with three Wye Valley brews on tap and a “cask wall” which would offer eight cask ales and would change regularly.