Former Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton is bringing his one man crusade to save the traditional pub to Salford this winter, as he takes over The King's Arms on Bloom Street.
Heaton was recording in the unique studio above the popular bar when he heard that it was on the market. His support for the traditional British pub has been well documented and he first began to notice how many old pubs were being closed as he cycled along the well-trodden paths of his youth. Just last year, Heaton cycled 900 miles on his Pedals and Bike Pumps Tour – riding to fifteen pubs across the country, performing intimate gigs to highlight 'the plight of the pub'. So for him and his partner, Zena, taking ownership of The King's Arms is a positive and practical step forward for their cause.
Speaking of his plans for the pub, Heaton emphasises how he plans to keep The Kings Arm's traditional, staying loyal to its foundations. There will, however, be some positive changes – he has plans to find a small community radio station to take residence in the studio above the bar.
"I love the Salford culture, it very much reminds me of my hometown, Hull" he explains "It's an underdog town with lots of potential. We want the pub to be busy, bringing locals together. We would love to get a local radio station – sort of community radio, broadcasting from the studio upstairs."
He compares the nervous excitement he is feeling ahead of the opening, with his old feelings of making an album.
"With an album, it's like a baby" he says "You are there from the start, you create it, and you nurture it and help it to grow. But with the pub, it's like a fully grown child – our adoptive child. There is already a past there and we need to be mindful of that."
Heaton is also planning another pub tour, set to begin in May next year. This time he will by cycling 2500 miles across England, Scotland and Wales... "It will be a bigger tour this time, and hopefully better!" he decides.
Heaton and Zena are celebrating their takeover of The King's Arms with a day of festive cheer on December 18th, with stalls selling a cool selection of unique items. This won't be your average bric-a-brac affair - vintage clothing, quirky soft furnishings and original paintings by local artists are just a few of the items which will be on sale.
The mulled wine will be flowing, and the kitchen will be re-opened for the first time in over a year. As well as the customary festive nibbles, the brand new menu will be available - boasting a selection of traditional hearty home cooked meals. There will also be live music, carols and entertainment throughout the afternoon.
"There will be bands, carols, and a few different people adding to the afternoon's entertainment" says Zena "It's our first big day in the pub before Christmas so we might even get a song out of Paul…"
Christmas Fair at King's Arms
Sunday 18th December
12pm – 4pm
Words by Miranda Hogan