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One of Exeter last remaining freehouses sold

One of Exeter last remaining freehouses sold

Posted: Wednesday 17 January 2018

The rapid expansion of a south coast pub group has led to the sale of one of Exeter last remaining freehouses.

The City Pub Group PLC has bought The Old Fire House in Exeter City Centre.

The confidential transaction was handled by Devon-based business sales advisors Charles Darrow on behalf of Flamequire Limited and after a brief, confidential marketing campaign.

The building was originally the West of England Fire Insurance Company, Fire Brigade from 1834 to 1888. In 1888 the City purchased the building and took over the equipment of the various city insurance company services, opening the Exeter Municipal Fire Brigade. In 1931, the service moved up to Danes Castle and the Old Fire House was sold for £1,500. It was used for various purposes over the years, and during the Second World War it was used as an army recruitment office. From 1959 to the 1970's, the Co-operative Retail Services used the premises for a warehouse, followed for a short time by Miller & Lilley who ran a solid fuel order office. By 1986 the building was derelict, when it was refurbished and opened as a pub in 1986. Inside can be found original firemen's helmets. The sign does not look like a typical, traditional pub sign. It shows an early, horse-drawn fire carriage rushing to a call

The Old Fire House has been successfully operated by Flamequire for many years and owes much of its success to its popularity with Exeter’s vast student population. It is now considered to be one of Exeter’s premier food & drink venues and is recognised as one of the region’s best ale & cider Pubs

Clive Watson, entrepreneur-cum-reality-TV star and chairman of The City Pub Group, who has appeared on Made in Chelsea with daughters Lucy and Tiffany, started trading the company on AIM in November 2017. The firm was founded in 2011 and began trading in March 2012.

Jon Clyne, Director at Charles Darrow commented: “Having known the Directors for many years, a confidential disposal was the only way in which we could preserve the quality of the operation and we were delighted to agree terms to City Pub Group in quick fashion. Having completed the transaction late last year, the business continues to trade in the same vein as in past years, with no major changes planned.

Quality freeholds such as the Old Fire House are few and far between and whilst the sale price is undisclosed, we believe it is the highest value sale of a freehold public house without letting accommodation, ever sold in Devon”.