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One of the most well-known and historic buildings in Rochdale, which was the town’s leading coach house during the Victorian period, reopened at the weekend following a £200,000 refurbishment.

The Grade II listed former Wellington Hotel at Number One Drake Street is to be serving food and drinks once again as the Wellington, after owners Mike and Sarah Howarth gave the 3-storey property a new lease of life, with council support.

The building has a rich history, first opening in 1750 as private residence. It was later a girls’ boarding school, before it became the Duke of Wellington Hotel in 1810, which was the leading coach house in the area. The ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in front of the hotel hosted a crowd of 8,000 following the Reform Act of 1832.

More recently it was the Nile nightclub, but the building has been empty for around 5 years.

The couple, who also run Vicolo Del Vino wine bar in Rochdale town centre and Benjamin’s Italian take away, off Sandy Lane, will initially be serving just drinks, with a traditional British menu set to be served by the end of the year.

Mike said: “Rochdale has a got huge potential to be a real destination again and we want to be part of that. Vicolo Del Vino has been really popular since it opened, so we know there’s an audience for good quality food and drink in the town centre.  The council is really pushing the regeneration and have been behind us every step of the way on this latest project.

“I love the fact that we’re at the crossroads of the old and new Rochdale here. On one side we have the re-opened river and Rochdale Town Hall on the other we have all the new development, like the Metrolink. Once the new shopping and leisure development is complete, it will be even better.”

The Wellington will serve a variety of drinks, including champagne and prosecco by the glass, as well as real ales, amid vintage-modern style surroundings, with grandfather clocks, Victorian fireplaces and chandeliers.

The couple, who own the business with local builder, Darren Wright, will open just the ground floor initially, with a function room for weddings and other celebrations set to be completed on the 2nd floor in May 2018, alongside office space for rent on the 3rd floor.

Mike added: “This definitely won’t be a run of the mill pub. We’ve got beautiful features and each room will be themed. Some areas will be cosy, with 1920s-style lamps, while others will be like an old gentleman’s club from the Victorian period. The Wellington Hotel was the once the best pub in Rochdale and we want it to be the best pub in Rochdale once again.

“There’s money to be spent here and we want it to stay in the borough. There’s a lot going on in Rochdale and as the regeneration continues and more places like this open, more people will come into town.”

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