3rd March 2022

#Hotels

Reawakening the Spread Eagle

3rd March 2022

Myself and colleagues involved in the project are finally able to visit this incredible building and my chest is humming with anticipation as I take her in for the first time. Though her beer taps are sheathed, boxes of bric-a-brac and nick-nacks lay unopened upon the original wood floorboards and chairs are cloaked in dust sheets, she already omits an aura of reawakening.

Traditional, characterful features have already been highlighted, accentuated, though there is still much to do. Ceiling high etched glass, indigenous to the Spread Eagle, and de-silvering beautifully at the edges, is at the centre of everything. I picture the back bar stocked generously high with spirit bottles twinkling in the glow of the sophisticated globe lights which already hang and I literally shiver.

Maybe you feel I am being too sentimental, but when you are a pub fanatic as I am then these places can feel like hallowed ground, church like. Built in the late Victorian era, the Spread Eagle is to be a celebration of its past, gleaning inspiration from its history & heritage, rather than a soulless remodelling. The vision we share is of a triumphant rebirth of 18th century public houses of our past and we collaborate – designers, builders, marketeers, architects and at the forefront Connal, the General Manager – to bring her back to life.

Touring the 21 individually designed bedrooms, set in a rabbit’s warren of brightly lit corridors and passageways, my excitement builds. The space seems to go on forever and I feel as though my mouth has been open in a gape of amazement the entire visit.

We coo over the walls adorned with eclectic artwork and stroke the velvety soft furnishings in each of the boutique bedrooms, but we all await the climax of our journey – the super-premium feature room which overlooks the old Young’s brewery. We’re not disappointed, but I’ll leave that one for you to discover for yourself.

Though it will also house the crew of Young’s HQ in a purpose-built office to the rear, the Spread Eagle feels more than a pub & hotel. Perhaps this is me getting misty-eyed and nostalgic again, but there feels to be a sort of magic here, and ghosts of the past seem present; cheers-ing and chugging ale from tankards, celebrating noisily, singing or perhaps with important business to discuss.

But, I suppose we will find out soon enough if that particular vibe transcends my romantic nature and becomes reality once the resurrection is complete. Meanwhile, we polish the silverware, compile a team, plump the pillows and generally ready ourselves until the day we slide back the bolts from those resplendent front doors to welcome in the people of Wandsworth and beyond.

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