Those who have watched ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’ will be very familiar with Holmfirth, as the town acted as the backdrop for Compo, Foggy and Cleggy’s misadventures.
But amid the winding cobbled streets and rolling green hills there was a very different story taking shape. One of loss and salvation, centred squarely on the Farmers Arms pub.
The Farmers Arms has existed in Holmfirth since the middle of the 19th century, and throughout that time has experienced all the high and lows that you may expect more in a television drama.
One of the more significant lows was in August 2021, when the pub was sadly closed, leaving its local community at a loss and the historical premises empty, and left to gather dust, as so many other pubs have over recent years.
But, just like its famous televisual protagonists, the show had to carry on. Enter Theo and his brother Rory, two local lads who grew up up a stone’s throw away from the pub, and couldn’t bear to see it abandoned.
Through dedication, hard work and more than a few scrapes and scuffles - that even Compo would be proud of - the Farmers Arms triumphantly reopened its doors in December 2022.
Theo and Rory have completely, yet sympathetically renovated the space, keeping many of its original features, including the stone floor and traditional wooden beams. They have also created a new dining area to the rear of the pub, which opens to an outdoor space which is a real sun trap during the summer.
Another original feature that has been maintained is Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, which has proudly sat on the bar for many years. The new publicans have been meticulous in their efforts to make sure they do cask ale justice, going through hours of training with their local Timothy Taylor’s Business Development Manager, Mark.
The training has been well worth it – with Landlord, and all their other beers, tasting sublime.
Theo stated: "The Farmers Arms has changed ownership many times over the last few years and together with the very gloomy outlook that’s been forecast for pubs generally, (especially since the pandemic) we thought that the building would most likely be bought up to turn into housing. However, being brought up 3 miles away from the pub we were aware of how important the pub is to the local community and how loyal the people of Burnlee are. So we knew the pub stood a chance!
"After a long refurbishment period with many obstacles, it’s great to be finally open for the community and we hope the people of Burnlee and Upperthong feel they have their pub back. With lots of plans for the summer and beyond we intend to be here for the long haul, serving great pints of Landlord!"
In today’s climate it’s always heartening to see young people take up the helm of such historical pubs. Bringing life back to the community, and saving a little piece of Holmfirth history that would have otherwise been lost. Thank you, Theo and Rory.