WORK IS underway on an extensive refurbishment of The Railway Hotel in Christchurch.

The interior walls of the pub on Stour Road will stripped back, replastered and wallpapered, whilst work is being done to The Railway Hotel’s outdoor facilities to provide an extended, new-look beer garden.

The pub, which dates back to 1840, is owned by Greenfield Events Company Limited on a long-term lease basis.

Managing Director Austyn Greenfield said: “We are doing a big gut out because the place needs new electrics, plumbing and gas. A lot of stuff needs doing.

“We have started the work on the outside and we hope to get started on the refurbishments inside in the next two weeks or so.

“We wanted to do it as close to when we are able to reopen as possible. It is quite exciting now; we have been planning this since October, but it is great to finally start work on it.”

The renovation will include a completes rebuild of both the public and lounge bar and new flooring throughout the pub.

Staff have been busy converting one of the building’s outhouses into a new sports bar, which will include BT and Sky Sports.

The kitchen facilities will be improved to expand the pub’s food offerings, which will include an introduction of Sunday Roasts and breakfasts on weekends.

The tavern’s toilets will also be decorated, and new seating will be added both inside and outside.

Whilst clearing out the pub’s trap doors to the old cellar, Mr Greenfield came across some old memorabilia dating back over 70 years.

Among the items found in the trapdoor cellar are old cheques and invoices as well as from the 1950s, plus some old beer bottles.

He said: “We decided to venture into one of the old trap doors. The old owner never touched it and he said the owner before him didn’t either, so the cellars haven’t been touched since the 50s

“They couldn’t get to it because the beer taps were in the way so when we took them out, we said we might as well check it out.

“We have got to get back into it but, as the things in there are so old and delicate and the cellar itself is so dusty, you need to take them out one at a time, but we are going to sort through them and frame some of the paperwork in the bar.”

Having started work at the end of February, the refurbishment, being completed in partnership with Punch Pubs, is expected to take two to three weeks.

Mr Greenfield hopes for the pub to be open after Easter Holidays in time for May Bank Holiday.

“It is going to look like a London pub – not modern but old school with a lot of wood and brass and a lot of the building’s original features,” he added.

“We have got some of the outside done already, we have got the sports bar in place. The new signed is being painted and the outside seating is being put in soon for the outdoor bar.

“We have been shut for nearly five months now, so it is going to take us a bit of time to get back up and running properly.

“It’s going well so far but we’ve got five weeks to get it ready to welcome customers back on the April 12.”