MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, recently visited The Knox in Bilton, Harrogate. He was there to celebrate the success of licensees Simon and Katie Swannie in transforming the pub into a vibrant hub of the area.
Local residents, Simon, who was in sales, and Katie, an NHS manager, gave up their jobs a year and a half ago to take over the under used pub. Since then they have invested over £100,000 in improvements and worked tirelessly to reverse The Knox’s fortunes and create a family-friendly pub that meets residents’ needs.
As well as bringing in cask ales (including local ales from Daleside and Roosters breweries) and winning Cask Marque quality approval, the couple have introduced a new menu of locally sourced, freshly prepared food, hosted countless events and activities from quiz nights to family fun days and raised over £5,000 for local good causes through events and stunts such as bungee jumping.
Regulars have recently benefited from Simon and Katie’s latest investment – a £6,000 projector and big screen that enables them to show major sporting events and host film screenings for local residents in their family room. The new equipment proved an instant hit with families during the snowy weather with the Swannies putting on films and serving hot chocolate to the area’s children.
Local pubs like The Knox can be a real force for good. They play an important social role, providing a place for residents to come together and helping turn neighbourhoods into communities. The Swannies’ achievement is remarkable and deserves to be celebrated.
Kate Swannie said:
It’s gratifying to have all our efforts recognised. We couldn’t have done this without the backing and input of local residents. They were crying out for a good local pub on their doorsteps. We’ve listened to what they wanted and they’ve been behind us every step of the way; we’re very grateful for their support.
Sophie Goodall, head of corporate affairs, Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, owners of The Knox, said:
Behind every great pub are great licensees and The Knox is no exception. The Swannies have brought outstanding vision and passion to The Knox as well as a lot of hard work and it’s fantastic to mark their success.
As passionate supporters of the great British pub, we want to help more licensees turn around their pubs through investment and support and are currently investing £1 million in Yorkshire locals.