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It's now the Blacksmiths again. Good pub, with good beer again. :-) 2008

LATEST, 28 May 2003,
Well the saga continues, It reopens this thursday 29 May 2003 as, SMITHS. Spoke to the guy outside painting the windows and he told me that. The side, town faceing, is being repainted and the VOODOOs are gone from the front, let me know your thoughts.
 
[May 2003]
the new[ist] name will be:!!! [SMITHS]
It's been painted now, to reopen???                                                                          Was being re-named, [yet again] as Voodoo. Never even finished painting, but is now closed. [What will it be next???] Answers by e-mail please! ;-)


From Richard Sparkes [ex landlord] Dec 2002
Here is the re-send. Let me know any feed back if there is any. And you do have my permission to print it. Run it through a spell check first though if you could. :)
My name is Richard Sparkes. I was the guy who originally bought the franchise on the Blacksmiths Arms. I have recently been shown your web site and it has stirred up some old feelings. I would love to point out that a lot of gossip which you have featured on your site has been totally inaccurate.
[Name Withheld By Webmaster] and I took on the Blacksmiths arms in June 2001. We took the franchise from Scottish and Newcastle Breweries after long discussions with an Area Manager [NWBW] (a man who turned out to be closely related to Satan). I personally fronted up all of the capital for the franchise as [NWBW] mysteriously claimed his backer had pulled out with just days to go to the handover. This left me with the tricky position of having to decide whether to pull out (the better option with hindsight) or carry on with the risk of loosing a lot of money for someone of my tender age. As you all know I went ahead. On the day of handover [NWBW] turned up late, leaving me to meet perhaps the greatest publican ever, Mr Neil Edwards former manager and long-term friend, who should have never been forced out. Anyhow things were going well until as with most good things a woman started to ruin it. [NWBW] got himself a girlfriend who was heavily into drugs and incredible messed up with a very shady homelife. This girl soon took up all of his time leaving me to run everything. I do not mind admitting that I made some big mistakes and that really I should not have even been in the job. However going from an expected partnership to running the show single handed was a strain on me and I did for a while resort to drinking quite heavily. Soon after this a huge bust up between myself and [NWBW] resulted in [Area Manager] being called. I then heard nothing from either party, until I was called to a meeting to be told that I would be leaving the job loosing all my money and to top it off this would all happen on my 21st birthday. I lost all my money, gained a terrible credit rating and to rub salt in the wounds [NWBW] would be allowed to run my venue into the ground whist I watched. He stole endless amounts of my money and personal effects. In short he tried desperately to ruin my life. In October of this year however, he was asked to leave the trade. Something he will never admit to even when a huge sign was erected advertising the fact. I am a strong believer in Karma and it is just starting to kick in. I now live happily with my girlfriend in the south even after [NWBW] accused me of cheating on her in public, And I have a great job event co-ordinating for a well know Motorsports company (see you at Silverstone). I am happy to see [NWBW] going through some of the hell he put me through for the last year and hope that he has learned a lesson. Put simply (and feel free to edit this) Don't fu*k with people's lives because one day it will come back to haunt you. And [NWBW], if you ever read this, that day is coming.
As for all the old regulars, I thank you so much for all your support, and the next round is on me.
All the Best Richard Sparkes


17 July 2002.

All change, had a look today, and new mang; The ice blue walls are now beige/ pleasant light brownish, the *wall stuff* has gone, and a helpful lady asked if she could help, when I went in. Didn't try the beer, but I think the oldersters, might start to drift in again, if they haven't found a new water hole. Time will tell??!! ;-)

I went to the Blacksmiths on sat 20 April 2002 lunchtime about 2pm. 20 odd people there, I liked the music, even if it was a bit too loud [for me] but not excessive. I had a half of 'John Smiths' and it was very good, I particularly liked the old fashioned, heavy, straight glass. 98p for a half. The *old movies* posters were good, people were a mixture, young and old. I cant say the colour scheme was to my liking, sea blue and purple. Didn't fit well with the woodwork and flag stones. The sign? figured that out *AKA* [also known as] *TBA* [the blacksmiths arms] OK, I'm slow!!. There was an 'internet connect point on the wall'More later.
See TOP [webmaster]
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also known as The Blacksmiths Arms review 15th April 2002-

Having read a previous review sent in to this website, I thought it only
fair I reply giving an accurate representation of the pub as it stands.

Finally someone has been brave enough to give this long forgotten relic of
Loughboroughs pub scene a much needed injection of personality. The bad
taste mock Victorian interior (completely inappropriate to the period of the
art deco building), has given way to fresh new bold statements, i.e. the
walls once awash with a false tobbaco stained yellow (provided by a paint
bucket, not by any smoker I can assure you) has been replaced by a bold
shades of light blue, cleverly enough plucked directly from the colour
scheme in the ORIGINAL stained glass windows. The blown up postcard prints
of old Loughborough and random other unrelated old world mass produced
images, now are replaced by larger more vibrant prints sampling from the
world of album cover art work, classic cinema, and cultural icons. An
outdated bar billiards table has been lost in the favour of a brand new
blue felt pool table with plenty of elbow room (a change from the griffin).
Other more imaginative entertainment has been installed i.e. internet
connected machine, and a beatiful pinball game, taking the place of a rifle
range machine I seem to remember being in place, which I at the time could
have only described as a eyesore. The product range has been overhauled.
>From my encounters with the previous management my boyfriend had trouble
buying a bottle of Budweiser, now he can drink Budweiser on draft if he so
chooses. The Blacksmiths boasts all the true survivor products from the
lager, Alco pop and spirit world. Not to mention what are in my opinion by
far and away the best Cocktails in Loughborough.

Alternative nights, live funky house D.J.'s, and continually stylised music
playing from Dean Martin at lunch to Basement Jazz at night. The whole
atmosphere has been completely revolutionised. Why, I even remember walking
into the Blacksmiths one lunchtime in the days of the old regime and having
to leave because the god awful jukebox (jukebox on random play...now there's
a crime against humanity) was playing U.K. Garage pop tunes. Now I witness
something classic or cutting edge almost every time I walk in. Before the new
landlord took over I was only ever present in the establishment somewhat
under duress, now I spend my time dragging my friends in for the first time.
Mainly because they never knew it existed previous to the current
management, or they did know of it previously, and wouldn't go back until
they were certain it was nothing like it was before.

As regards the "dude lord" I have to spoken to him briefly on several
occasions, and on questioning him about why he fell in love with The
Blacksmiths (I mean who could have? considering it's previous state) he told
me he worked full time at The Orange Tree for a year and in all that time
working and socialising directly across the road from Blacksmiths, he didn't
even know there was pub there. Which I must say was the reaction of most of
my friends, up until the time of the new management. Of the staff I have
met, I find that all them seem to very heavily involved and excited about
the Blacksmiths as a whole, and are always very eager to entertain and
involve any body whom I have visited the pub with, as well anybody else in
the pub for that matter.

My old memories of the Blacksmiths however are mostly related to an old
group of regulars, whom I remember used to continually congregate around the
end of the bar. Me and my friends used to find them obnoxious and
intimidating, and generally we would leave after being made to feel
uncomfortable, by this group of loud overbearing customers, whom I would
witness time after time walking around the pub marking their territory like
dogs urinating on a lamp post. It seems that this stuffy element has finally
disintegrated to allow a free and easy atmosphere were young locals such as
myself can finally find a home, that allows us to have a good time,
experience friendly staff and customers, and exciting and brilliant music
that almost always seems to be perfectly suited to the atmosphere.

Finally this pub has character and atmosphere, particularly compared to it's
old bad taste corporate ethos that has dragged this pub down and down for
what seems to have benefited only a very small clientele, who alienated
newcomers. The young new landlord has taken a stand (and remember if you
don't stand for something, you will fall for anything) and used imagination
to create a real home for not necessarily the younger generation, but the
side of the community in Loughborough who aren't completely out of touch,
and hypocritical in the upmost (a description of some of the old clientele
who I witnessed, and met in passing in my brief visits to the Blacksmiths
previous to the takeover). This is truly the way a pub should be, an
ever-evolving fun place to be with a sense of style, rather than the
corporate presentation, and miserable regulars and staff who make up my
overriding memory of the Blacksmiths Arms previous to the takeover.

One more note...I asked the dude lord about the swathe of Ivy that
apparently graced the wall that his effigy currently resides upon. He
mentioned to me that the ivy was gone long before he arrived, and he thought
a sign with a bit of humour and life in it, that oddly enough doesn't include
any skateboards mentioned by the previous review of the Blacksmiths by a
blind man (or short sighted at least) was just the perfect antidote to a
mock Victorian effect billboard plastered on the side of a listed art deco
building. At least he's not pretending to be something he isn't............
encourage all people who want to have a good time, to visit this unique,
entertaining and friendly bar as soon as possible.

thanks, and hopefully you'll put this on the website as I felt it needed to
be said, and it took me long enough to write it!!!

Marie Cauldwell