Based in the south of England, the Upham Group is the fastest growing new pub and brewery company in the UK.
The company’s new Upham Brewery was launched in the heart of the South Downs in May 2013 and supplies over 250 stockists – including leading hotels and pubs and local Co-op and Majestic stores – with staple ales as well as seasonal special ales.
In addition to its brewery, the Upham Group owns an increasing number of pubs and inns across Hampshire, Sussex, Berkshire and Wiltshire. All of the group’s sites have benefitted from restoration and improvement works at some point and this has helped Upham Group to showcase their individual charm and distinctive character, as the establishment believes that keeping their pubs varied and exciting is key.
The most recently opened pub to join the group’s portfolio is The Wheelwright’s Arms at Havant. This pub was stylishly refurbished and reopened at the end of June 2014 and instantly became a hit with locals and visitors. This particular pub evokes an Edwardian theme, with the high ceilings and hardwood typical of an Edwardian pub, and the design features that have been integrated by project architects Simmons Interiors.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality about the projects, Director of Upham Group, Chris Phillips said:
“Simmons Interiors have been presented with a thorough briefing on what we are trying to achieve on every individual project with the pub and market we are aiming for. There is always a marriage which has to be achieved in the design with the style and operation we think befits the area. I always have in mind what type of operation will succeed in each location; one size does not fit all.”
“We aim to attract all members of the community to our pubs by offering food and drinks at prices to suit individual budget types.”
Aptly chosen to imitate the name, one of the design elements within The Wheelwright’s Arms is the placing of several industrial wheels around the space. With a design concept of replicating how a typical Edwardian pub would appear back in that era, Simmons Interiors incorporated lots of little booths, similar to those utilised during the Edwardian period, where people would tuck themselves away and play dominoes.
The designers also created some etched glass screens with old gear cogs engraved into them to include within the space of the pub. The bar was reconfigured and made from old galvanized piping, and traditionally stands facing the customer as they enter the building. The Simmons Interiors team created an old timber bar front and welded metal corners, with added shelving for storing glasses.
A traditional village pub sat in South Harting near Petersfield, The White Hart is another part of the Upham Group chain, which opened just prior to Christmas 2013. This pub was not performing as hoped with customers, until the renovation successfully changed all that. Since the refurbishment the feedback has been very positive with excellent customer reviews and great trading figures. Retaining and exaggerating the sense of tradition was the key design concept with The White Hart, as it already had existing features and a design element which Simmons did not want to tamper with.
A third pub within the Upham Group brand is The Rockingham Arms, located on the edge of the New Forest at West Wellow. This pub had been closed for over a year due to bankruptcy, until Upham Group decided to renovate it. A design element that features in both The Wheelwright’s Arms and The Rockingham is the two serving cabinets formed from old doors and drawers, and various distressed handles.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Managing Director of Simmons Interiors, Philip Simmons, said:
“The Rockingham was a challenge, due to the low concrete beams and low ceiling; however we managed to get past this. We decided to give the building a forestry log-cabin sense to it as the forest surroundings seemed very fitting, again using reclaimed materials for the interior such as reclaimed timber, old floorboards and old timber cladding.”
“We had a lot of fun working on The Wheelwright’s Arms, as well as other pubs in the collection including The Rockingham and The White Hart; in total we have worked on a grand total of eight of the Upham Group’s pubs and have two further pubs we are working on at present. We’ve been quite playful with our designs however also we have utilised traditional materials such as old tessellated tiles on floors and reclaimed and distressed materials. Another important principle to us was to provide a real pub; not just a gastro-pub where customers sit down to eat but somewhere they can feel comfortable just having a few pints.”
For more information on the Upham Group, please visit: www.uphamgroup.co.uk.