A disused Northampton pub that has been waiting for renovations for over eight years could become “one of the gems of the town” under a council ‘masterplan’.
In 2013, The Old Black Lion Pub, on Marefair, in Northampton was awarded a share of over £1.6m of Heritage Lottery Fund money for renovations as part of a plan to restore the neighbouring St Peter’s Church.
However, the money has never come to fruition, and the pub has since gone out of business.
But now, the Old Black Lion could be brought back to life as a heritage centre for Northampton – where you can still drop by for a pint.
The next step was announced during a conference on Friday (June 26) as part of Northampton Forward’s ‘masterplan’, after the borough council bought the freehold for the pub in 2019 for £400,000.
During the conference, councillor Tim Hadland told the Northampton Forward board: “The Old Black Lion is one of the most historic pubs in the town centre.
“We’ve been working for a number of years to unblock the heritage lottery funding and get things moving and create a heritage gateway for Northampton.
“It will continue to be a pub. It will be refurbished as a visitors centre – and will still be somewhere you can have a pint pulled for you.
“This is one of the gems of the Northampton Forward masterplan.”
The council’s plan is to make the walk from the train station into town centre as “heritage gateway” for Northampton.
The pub is thought to date back to the early 1700s, with the earliest definitive mention of the pub coming from 1717 according to Dave Knibb, who wrote ‘Last Orders’, a book on the history of Northampton’s pubs. The pub was renamed the ‘Old’ Black Lion in the 1800s to distinguish it from another pub called the Black Lion on St Giles’ Street, which is now the Wig & Pen.