Green Man – Superb renaissance for ancient inn
Believed to be one of the oldest pubs in the UK, and dating back to 1314, the once derelict Green Man Pub in Howe Street, Chelmsford has undergone a breathtaking sympathetic £3m renovation before opening this November as the Galvin Green Man.
Set in 1.5 acres of riverside meadow amidst beautiful countryside with the river Chelmer flowing close by, Galvin Green Man marks a return home for Essex-born Michelin-starred chefs and restaurateurs Chris and Jeff Galvin, who remain the only brothers from Great Britain to be awarded a Michelin star.
Styled very much as a great British pub with the option to dine, the Green Man is of particular importance to the Galvin team, not only as a homecoming for Chris and Jeff, but also to co-directors of the Galvin Pub Company, Warren Geraghty and Alex Piombino, who have worked alongside Chris and Jeff for over 20 years.
Architects and interior designers for the stunning refurbishment were Design LSM, with the works being carried out by Phelan Construction.
The old pub building has been restored to its former glory whilst the addition of a glass roofed 90 cover dining room has brought the interior right up to date.
Internally, the old pub building has been stripped back to allow the original features to shine through. From the restored wooden beams which date back to 1314, to the horses mounting block outside, each aspect of the design has been thoughtfully executed to create a subtle and inviting setting that blends history and modern day.
Traditional materials such as authentic tartan fabrics, leathers and timbers have been used throughout to reflect the rural setting.
The adjacent new main dining room with its vaulted glass roof and doors overlooks the neighbouring farmland. Two stunning fireplaces serve as a focal point for the space, while oak dining tables add to the rustic charm, creating a warm and intimate dining environment.
The Galvin Green Man also hosts four private dining rooms on the first floor for up to 16 guests each.
In addition, a new kitchen complex was created to the rear of the building, serving both the old pub and the new main dining space.
Simon Spiteri architectural director of Design LSM said: “There was a desire on the part of the client to move into a more pub-orientated market to broaden the demographic appeal of the Galvin brand offer – which is why they put in a bid for The Green Man.
“The original building, which is Grade II listed, was derelict and carrying out a project on this scale on a listed building was a challenge. However the scheme, which includes around 300 sq m of new build, was very much welcomed by both the local planning and conservation departments.
“The original pub is believed to be the oldest in the country and features wattle and daub construction. One of the main aims of the project was to bring in a restaurant element to the site, so we decided to use the countryside pub appeal of the original building, whilst adding a large new build restaurant offer.
“The provision of car parking space was also incredibly important, so we introduced a 60 space car park – approximately half of which is on a Grasscrete grid system. The car park is accessed from the old pub building via a new glazed link from the bar area. This glazed link also provides access into the main dining space within the new extension.
“This was a fast track 20 week project geared to having the pub up and trading for the Christmas period.
“The feedback on the project has been great – both in terms of the architectural design for us and for the food offer by the client.
“This project means a great deal to us since it is for a long-standing and loyal client with whom we have a great working relationship. We are pleased that they put their trust in us to deliver what is the first of a new offer for them.
“We’ve worked with the Galvin brothers on various projects for a number of years and are now also working on a scheme for them in Dubai – so this is a very important client for us.”
Phelan Construction is a main contractor established in 1987 that specialises in construction, refurbishment and fit out projects within the hospitality and leisure sectors. In its 30 year history Phelan have worked with wide selection of prestigious clients with projects ranging from £250k to £15m and with expertise in both construction and fit-out they offer their clients a truly turnkey package. Phelan offers nationwide coverage with projects reaching as far afield as Newquay, Aberdeen and the Isle of Wight.
Phelan first became aware of the project at the Green Man through Chris Wall Consulting who they have worked with before on such projects as Oblix at the Shard and Roka in Mayfair. Having worked with both Chris Wall and the architects Design LSM previously the company were keen to price the works at the Green Man. In addition the Essex based Galvin brothers were keen to use an Essex based contractor for the scheme. After winning the project through a competitive tendering process Phelan Construction were delighted to have been awarded this prestigious project and they hope that this will lead to further projects with the Galvin’s.
Phelan Construction takes pride in delivering perfect projects through passionate people and it is to this ongoing ethos that they attribute their success.