New team take over popular town pub

John and Heather Ainsworth have taken over the pumps at The Steamer pub in Fleetwood
John and Heather Ainsworth have taken over the pumps at The Steamer pub in Fleetwood

ONE of Fleetwood’s oldest surviving pubs has a new management team at the helm.

The Steamer on Queen’s Terrace, which dates from the 19th century, is now being run by couple Alan and Heather Ainsworth.

They took over as managers at the end of last month after the departure of predecessors Ian Wright and Emma Jardine, and have signed up for a 20 week lease.

It is an exciting new career development for the pair – they have never run a pub before.

They say regulars at the pub, which is owned by brewery Scottish and Newcastle, have been very welcoming.

Alan, 58, worked for B&M Bargains, while Heather, 57, was a receptionist at Tiffany’s Hotel in Blackpool.

Heather told the Weekly News: “Our son and his wife, Phil and Emma Ainsworth, run the Gynn pub on North Shore. Their pub is run by Lancashire Leisure Solutions, which happens to be the same holding company which Scottish and Newcastle have leased The Steamer to.

“When Lancashire Leisure asked Phil and Emma if they knew a suitable couple to run The Steamer, they suggested us, because they knew we were interested.

“Phil and Emma have been a brilliant help to us in the first few weeks. It has been hard, but we’re enjoying it.”

Heather added: “The Steamer is a beautiful old building, with so much history.

“You can just imagine the old fishermen coming here when the trawlers were in the dock.

“The building is huge, and ideally would need a lot of money spending on it to get it to its full potential.

“We’ll be here for the next 20 weeks, and then take it from there.”

John said: “It’s a proper regulars’ pub, with very little passing trade.

“People come to The Steamer because they want to come here, they’re not just passing through.”

Despite the change of hands, John and Heather will continue with the programme of live music on Saturday nights.

The Steamer is battling on at a particulary tough time for the pub trade.

Fleetwood has lost no less than seven hostelries in recent years.

The latest to go is the Jolly Sailor on Radcliffe Road which has been empty for months and has been sold to developers who want to turn it into six two-bedroomed flats.

The Broadway Hotel closed in 2004 and the town has since lost the Cutty Sark, Gullivers, Victoria Hotel, Fleetwood Arms and the Ship Inn.