Historic Hartlepool building gets new lease of life as a pub

REVAMPED: Michael Westhorpe outside The Duke of Cleveland.
REVAMPED: Michael Westhorpe outside The Duke of Cleveland.

ONE of the oldest buildings in Hartlepool has been given a new lease of life after undergoing a £350,000 face-lift.

The former Conservative Club has re-opened as the Duke of Cleveland pub on the Headland creating 12 jobs.

In the 1800s, the Grade II listed building was the summer home to the first Duke of Cleveland William Henry Vane.

It will now serve up drinks to locals after two years of work by the new owners to restore the building to its former glory.

Businessman, Mike Westhorp, who is one of the three new owners, said: “It belonged to the Conservative Club but members had dwindled and they couldn’t afford to keep it open any more.

“We made an offer and decided to take it on. Everything has been restored back to its original state and how it looked about 80 years ago.

“We have spent about £350,000 on it, all the bars have been renewed, a snooker room has been turned into a function room and various false ceilings have bene taken out.”

Duke William, known as Harry, was a landowner and politician who lived from 1766 to 1842.

His main residence was the grand Raby Castle but it was Hartlepool where he would come to relax in the summer.

Observers will spot that the building, formerly called Hartlepool House, has no windows overlooking St Hilda’s Church directly opposite on Church Walk.

That is because the Duke is said to have had a disagreement with the then curator of St Hilda’s when the house was built in 1833.

But the new owners are looking forward to welcoming the local community through the doors when they officially open on Friday, December 5.

Mr Westhorp added: “A lot of people don’t realise yet that we have been refurbished but those who have come in are over the moon with it.”

The building was granted listed status in 1949 and last month was presented with Hartlepool Civic Society’s Rose Bowl in their prestigious awards competition.