Community take over Crook Inn ownership

Published: 24 Feb 2013 09:300 comments

ONE of Scotland's oldest pubs has been handed over to the community who fought to save it.

Villagers in Tweedsmuir paid the asking price of £160,000 last Friday for the Crook Inn following a year of solid fundraising.

And work will soon begin on raising the substantial amount of cash needed to turn it into the community hub that campaigners want.

The hostelry, which had lain vacant for six years, had been under threat from plans for housing until the Tweedsmuir Community Company was set up.

The registered charity struck a deal to buy the listed building from businessman Jim Doonan.

And last week the transacation was completed.

Duncan Davidson, chairman of the Tweedsmuir Community Company, told the Peeblesshire News: "The support to Save the Crook Inn has been phenomenal.

"We are very grateful to all those who have made the purchase of this landmark Inn possible.

"It would have been impossible without donations, both large and small, both locally and more widespread in Scotland, the UK and Canada.

"We even had donors recalling their delight in the Crook Inn stretching back to 50 to 60 years ago.

"We have had vital support from the Scottish Borders Council. Our largest donors have been the wind farm companies, Infinis and SSE, showing that wind farm companies can make very valuable contributions to communities."

Now the community company faces the task of renovating the inn, which was closed in November 2006 by Mr Doonan with a view to building houses on the site.

The inn, which dates back to 1604, was one of the first licensed establishments in Scotland, and the hostlery was also where Robert Burns wrote the poem Willie Wastle's Wife. John Buchan, Sir Walter Scott and the Ettrrick Shepherd James Hogg also frequented the pub.

Mr Davidson added: "Our aims for the Crook extend beyond just the restoration and updating of the 400 year old Inn, to educational, cultural and social activities in Upper Tweed and beyond.

"For the next phases we will need much assistance with time, effort and skills and, of course, money. It is an exciting and worthwhile challenge."

Among the first to congratulate the Tweedsmuir Community Company following last week's ownership transfer was local MP David Mundell.

He told us: "This is great news and a fantastic start to 2013 for this hard working group of volunteers.

"I never doubted their ability to achieve this goal thanks to their resolve and hard work.

"Those behind this project, the Tweedsmuir Community Company and its supporters, worked very hard to raise the £160,000 required to acquire this well known and historic local building.

"I congratulate them on their great efforts and will continue to back their campaign, with the next stage being to raise money for essential repairs."

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