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Local artwork will add colour and history to new pub

New Wetherspoon pub will open in High Street on April 8 and will feature artwork referencing town's history

Workmen Steve Davies (L) and James Blake (R) at work inside the Queen Hotel, in Aldershot High Street

Aldershot's new Wetherspoon pub will open in a matter of weeks, following a £2.3 million redevelopment project.

The pub replaces the former vacant Queen Hotel in High Street.

It has been expanded and a beer garden added, and will retain the same name.

Around 45 new jobs will be created when it opens with a ceremony on April 8.

Work by local artists has been commissioned to decorate the inside of the pub, including a steel sculpture inspired by the alder tree – thought to have given Aldershot its name – by Cliff Madgwick of Ash-based business Hampshire Metalcraft.

The alder tree theme will be visible throughout the building.

A charcoal drawing entitled A Horse in Movement by Aldershot-born artist Ann Hollaway has been purchased, while the refurbished bedrooms will each have a piece of art by students at Farnborough Sixth Form College.

Individual furniture items designed using reclaimed materials have also been promised, although it has not yet been revealed what these will be.

Farnborough’s Tilly Shilling Wetherspoon, which opened in July 2011, includes a replica section of a Spitfire aircraft and an aeroplane seat, owing to the town’s history of aviation.

Information and photographs about Aldershot's history will also be on display.

Before purchasing the Queen Hotel site last May, Wetherspoon had agreed to open a pub in The Arcade shopping centre in Wellington Street, in plans that also included a Poundland store.

However, Wetherspoon pulled out in April and Arcade owners Dunedin withdrew its plans for the site.

Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “Wetherspoon has been keen to open a pub in Aldershot for a number of years and is delighted that this is finally coming to fruition.

“We believe that our new pub will prove popular with people of all ages and that it will prove an asset to the town.

“We also hope that it will act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the town. It is well known that we were interested in another site in Aldershot before we chose to develop the Queen Hotel, and we are more than happy with the site we have.”

Several alternative names for the pub were considered, all of which gave a nod to Aldershot’s history. The Regiment of Horse, after the East Cavalry Barracks of the 1850s; The Alder Tree; The Hundred of Crondall; The Royal Engineer, after the Royal Engineers camp was set up where Princes Gardens now sits; The Queen’s Pavilion and The Crossed Swords were all options passed up by the company.

 
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