DO you remember the Sportsman, a once beloved Hereford pub which has been lost to time?

The pub building, which was on Widemarsh Common, dated back to 1795 and for most of its life went under the name of the Bull’s Head.

The watering hole was a Hereford staple for almost two centuries and became a hub for social activities and clubs; it is remembered fondly by locals to this day.



Les Hyde said: “When I was a nipper and living in Old School Lane, I would often be treated to a trip with my dad to the Bulls Head on Widemarsh common.

“We used to collect conkers then sit in the pub garden with the sound of shunting in Worcester Sidings in the background.

“He would have his pint and I would have my bottle of Vimto with a straw and a packet of Smiths crisps.

Nigel Johnson said: “I played football for Lads Club on Widemarsh Common and we drank in the lads club bar after home games and training. Good times.”

In later years the establishment was renamed ‘the sportsman’ due to its association with the nearby Hereford Lads Club.

To go with the new name Colin Stanley Jones was commissioned to paint a sign for the pub bearing the image of cricket hero WG Grace, who captained England in the late 19th century and is believed to have played a match on the common.

Unfortunately, by the mid-1990’s the pub fell out of use and the good times ended.

The building became a residence for a number of years until a spate of arsons in 2008 made it uninhabitable.

The first attack posed a serious threat to life, with 5 people having to be rescued from the flames.

The second fire, which was started within the same week as the first, only served to further damage the property.

The charred remains of the pub were then left to the elements, with only the iconic sportsman sign left intact. But even this was not to last, with the sign being stolen in 2009.

The theft saddened locals, with Bryan White of Herefordshire Sport at the time saying: “From a heritage point of view, the sign has great value in the city.”

“If the person who took it has a conscience they will realise it is part of Hereford’s sporting history and will return it.”

The saga came to an end in 2011, when what was left of the derelict property was demolished.