Historic pub up for sale

Peter Fletcher outside the Princess Helena
Peter Fletcher outside the Princess Helena

ONE of Hartlepool’s oldest pubs is up for sale.

The Princess Helena, in Whitby Street, has had the same name since it first opened its doors in the 1860s.

Now the pub has been put on the market by current owners Peter Fletcher and his wife Pat, who have been in the trade for 33 years and are looking to retire.

The pub, which comes with a first floor flat, is being sold by agent Fleurets and has a guide price of £325,000.

The popular pub was built around the same time as other pubs in the Whitby Street area including The Queen Victoria, which is now the Little Black Book lapdancing club.

Princess Helena was Queen Victoria’s third daughter and Peter believes that is why the pub was given the name which has stuck ever since.

There are records of a concert room in the upper floor pre-dating the pub, which is said to have been created by a prominent local businessman for the people of Hartlepool.

Peter, who has run the pub for the past eight years, is not sure of the exact year the pub opened but has documents, receipts and newspaper clippings from as far back as 1867.

The 66-year-old said: “The pub has seen some major changes over the years.

“Originally it had four rooms downstairs including a bar, a smoke room, a parlour and a tap room, before it was knocked into one room.

“It didn’t use to serve spirits until 1966, just ales before then. But the biggest change we have seen in recent years is in licensing hours.

“It used to shut at 10.30pm during the week and between 2pm and 3pm on an afternoon.

“That has all changed with the longer licensing hours which has led to a culture change with people drinking later into the night.”

Mr Fletcher, who ran the former RAFA Social Club, in Burn Valley, for 25 years, lives in the Rift House area with wife Pat, 64.

The pair have two children Lisa Crawford, 36, and professional footballer Steve Fletcher, 39, who plays for Bournemouth.

Pat said: “We will be sad to leave because we have made lots of friends over the years.”

Peter, a granddad of five, said: “We have reached that time of life when we want to take a step back.

“There have been a lot of characters in the bar over the years and we will really miss this place.

“But the hours are very long and we want to enjoy our retirement.”

He has amassed a large collection of pub memorabilia from his time in the trade including clocks, beer fonts, bar towels, glassware and plans to set up a website to sell them.

The Princess Helena has a licence between 11am and midnight Sunday to Thursday and until 2am on Friday and Saturday.

Andrew Spencer, of Fleurets, said: “This is a super property with plenty of history and character which would suit an experienced operator to develop further.”

For more information contact Andrew Spencer on (0113) 2340304.