Sunday, 23 June 2013


It's always good to hear of a pub that's been transformed by sheer hard work, vision and enterprise - especially after this particular pub had basically, been 'on its arse' under the previous owner.

The Crooked Billet, in Worsthorne village, on the outskirts of Burnley had been struggling under its previous owner, Punch Taverns - so much so, it was placed on the market in 2011.

The pub in recent years had had various temporary managers - who didn't seem to care that the pub was deteriorating - and as a consequence, had really struggled - before it was eventually sold in March 2012.

The pub today, fifteen months on, is a shining example of a thriving, traditional free-house, rural boozer.

New owners, Alison Leigh and Paul Miller now have an establishment, that is a real hub of the community - a place that the village can be proud of.

There is now a superb range of cask ales - seven in total - with three from the local brewer, Worsthone, and two from Timothy Taylors, being permanent fixtures on the bar. The beers are from just £2.30 a pint.

A fine cross-section of clientele now frequent the pub; church groups, a mountain-bike club, walkers, a weekly Spanish class - as well as all the friendly regulars from the village and beyond.

It's a true traditional pub, with its 'snug' room - and when I
visited, there was one of the regulars in this part of the pub, drinking his cask ale from a barrel glass.

You look at the menu and it's simple,traditional 'pub-grub'. There was pie and peas for three quid and a hot beef sandwich for £2.50 -  no rip-off prices at 'The Billet'!

I think Alison summed up their success story pretty well when she said:"The investment and hard work has paid off. All the old customers have now returned - many old friends too - those who knew me, from having worked at this pub for twenty years.    

I am sure you will raise a glass to Alison and Paul - they who have rescued an ailing boozer from the 'Pubco Machine' - and turned it in to a community asset to be proud of.     



  1. Sounds like my type of pub. Although a but of a journey by bus from Morecambe, I could do this on a Saturday when there are no restrictions on the use of my Bus pass. One on the list to visit!

  2. Cheers Mike. If you are visiting the pub by bus, you will find a regular half-hourly service from Burnley Bus Station to the village. It's the number 2 bus. It stops outside a chippy and mini-store. The Bay Horse is 20 yards away - the Crooked Billet is about 100 yards from the bus stop! :-)

  3. This is excellent news. It looks a lovely pub. Punch obviously didn't give a toss about it, and many other pubs they won't care about either. Good luck to the new owners. I wish them well.

  4. it is nice to read a good news story.

  5. while it's really nice to read such a positive story it's a real shame a similar outcome couldn't be realised here in Rodley.

    Alas, we will probably have to wait many years and many more Enterprise Inns Churn Cycles at The Owl at Rodley before it becomes a viable option to buy it from Enterprise Inns.

    Good Luck to Alison & Paul from all at The Owl at Rodley

  6. What a good news story, about time proper pubs had some good publicity. With all the stories about failing businesses and pubs closing it's good to see that hard work and giving your customers what they want is the right way to go.

    1. Drew,sorry for late publication of your kind comment - only just got back from France! :)