Back with a roar! Oldham community pub renamed Bear on the Hill as part of £100k facelift
An Oldham community pub has reopened with a roar following a £100,000 facelift that not only gave it a fresh look, but a new name.
Now called The Bear on the Hill, the Huddersfield Road venue has welcomed back regulars and attracted new customers eager to see what changes have been made to the 183-year-old building.
Formerly known as The Last Orders, the pub is owned by Proper Pubs, the Operator Managed platform of Hawthorn, the Community Pub Company, which owns more than 130 local, community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales.
Proper Pubs has invested £99,400 in The Bear on the Hill, which has been repainted inside and out, and now features new signage, windows, lighting, carpets and flooring. The toilets have been completely updated, while new music systems and digital advertising screens have been installed.
Operator Tony Beswick, who took on running the pub a year-and-a-half-ago, said: “We had an amazing first week open, while our first weekend saw Friday and Saturday night DJs and a private event on the Sunday.”
The Bear on the Hill hosts two pool teams, plans to start a darts team, and offers entertainment throughout the week and at weekends, including quizzes.
Tony also works closely with his pub community to raise funds for mental health charities, and throughout the pandemic made weekly calls on a regular customer living alone who was diagnosed with cancer, delivering food and home cooking.
The pub is now aiming to raise £1,500 to install a new defibrillator in the pub, for community use, and will continue to support other community initiatives, including acting as a drop off point for anybody wishing to contribute to local food banks.
Matthew Gurney, Operations Director, Proper Pubs said: “This is a new chapter in the pub’s history, and we’re very keen to help Tony – who’s a superb community pub Operator and a true community hero – make the most of this local landmark venue with investment and work that has brought it bang up-to-date.
“So as well as redecorating and installing new equipment, we pretty much gutted the trading areas and removed its different-level, balustraded seating areas to give the pub an open plan feel.”
The new identity, explained Matthew, reflects a former name – The Conquered Bear – and the fact that locals call the area ‘on hill’.