New owners celebrate first year at 'landmark' Bradford pub

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Former Lord Mayor of Bradford Robert Sowman is served by grandson Matthew Fox Former Lord Mayor of Bradford Robert Sowman is served by grandson Matthew Fox

Campaigners have welcomed the continuing resurgence of a city centre pub that looked doomed only a year ago.

Owners of the revived Jacob’s are toasting the pub’s future after surviving their first year.

Landlady Christina Wagstaff is celebrating the run-up to the landmark anniversary by investing in a new kitchen and announcing plans to hold a three-day beer festival later this year.

Those who have been working towards the revival of Bradford’s pubs and restaurants through the Taste of Bradford campaign have welcomed the pub’s success.

Colin Philpott, chief executive of Bradford Breakthrough, said: “We need more choice in the city and we need Bradford to become a destination in which people want to spend their leisure time.

“With the reopening of pubs such as Jacob’s we have a real chance of succeeding in our campaign to fulfil our desire to see Bradford as a city centre with a lot to offer.”

CAMRA spokesman Bill Arnold said: “I put their success down to hard work and dedication. Sticking to the cause of supporting real ale has paid off and it’s great news. Word of mouth is obviously working for them. Customers are enjoying themselves, coming back and telling others – that’s how it works. Real ale is the future and it’ll be here to stay – like Jacob’s.”

Mrs Wagstaff and her business partner husband William, who also runs The New Beehive in Westgate, organised a party to say cheers to loyal supporters.

Among the guests were former Lord Mayor of Bradford Robert Sowman, whose grandson Matthew Fox is a Jacob's barman. The old Jacob’s Well was a popular haunt of Mr Sowman’s during his time at City Hall.

Mr Sowman said: “After using it for 26 years while I was a councillor it will always have very happy memories for me – it was a great place to get over the tension of heavy meetings! It’s good to be back and see it reopened and thriving, It’s a landmark Bradford pub.”

Mrs Wagstaff said: “When we first bought it we decided we would give it a year to see if it was viable. The first few months were particularly hard when sometimes I could be on the bar by myself for up to six hours without a single customer! But all that time I was supported emotionally by family and by many lovely people who genuinely wanted Jacobs and the city centre to thrive.”

Comments (9)

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10:22am Sun 2 Mar 14

Staffords Hairpiece says...

Well done to the Wagstaff's for their work at the Jacobs Well. The town centre is embarrassingly short of decent traditional pubs so having the Well back to its best is a massive plus. All we need now is for the Ring O'Bells to be resold as a pub (surely once Westfield opens this could be turned into a goldmine) and we might be able to have a decent pub crawl around the centre once again.
Well done to the Wagstaff's for their work at the Jacobs Well. The town centre is embarrassingly short of decent traditional pubs so having the Well back to its best is a massive plus. All we need now is for the Ring O'Bells to be resold as a pub (surely once Westfield opens this could be turned into a goldmine) and we might be able to have a decent pub crawl around the centre once again. Staffords Hairpiece
  • Score: 24

10:41am Sun 2 Mar 14

cookie_brighton says...

I have had many pub crawls around the City before I left....during my teens.......Ring o Bells Bolton road, Old Crown Ivegate, I remember Alan Jubb ( landlord) and Vic Green (D.J.) Yates Winelodge Ivegate........HIC HIC lol
I have had many pub crawls around the City before I left....during my teens.......Ring o Bells Bolton road, Old Crown Ivegate, I remember Alan Jubb ( landlord) and Vic Green (D.J.) Yates Winelodge Ivegate........HIC HIC lol cookie_brighton
  • Score: 9

12:18pm Sun 2 Mar 14

northern pig says...

I luv real ale but find the cost of it in some establishments eye watering. I recently paid the best part of four qiud for a pint of landlord and no i wasn't in London!Suffice to say i just had the one.Good luck to the Jacobs, ii will be paying you a visit in the not too far distant future.
I luv real ale but find the cost of it in some establishments eye watering. I recently paid the best part of four qiud for a pint of landlord and no i wasn't in London!Suffice to say i just had the one.Good luck to the Jacobs, ii will be paying you a visit in the not too far distant future. northern pig
  • Score: 13

12:51pm Sun 2 Mar 14

mrs walker says...

Slowly, in fits and starts, it seems Bradford's city centre is improving. The Beehive has always been a good pub, and I've been in Jacob's a few times - very nice beer, it must be said! The Sparrow up at the top of town, and old favourite 'the Fighting Rooster' on Preston St (no point in typing its proper name, the malfunctioning filth-filter at the T&A will only asterisk it out) and the Corn Dolly are all good real ale pubs. For nights with friends who aren't beer afficionados, Al's Dime Bar just down from the Sparrow has a comprehensive cocktail menu (very tasty!) With the Westleigh and Delius upping their game, and the Black Swan and the 1in12 flying the flag for alternative culture, a night out in Bradford is more fun than it's been for a while. Though it seems both the Gasworks and Vampyre have shut up shop, so there's currently a shortage of places to dance..
Okay, it's not Leeds, but personally I wouldn't want it to be.
Slowly, in fits and starts, it seems Bradford's city centre is improving. The Beehive has always been a good pub, and I've been in Jacob's a few times - very nice beer, it must be said! The Sparrow up at the top of town, and old favourite 'the Fighting Rooster' on Preston St (no point in typing its proper name, the malfunctioning filth-filter at the T&A will only asterisk it out) and the Corn Dolly are all good real ale pubs. For nights with friends who aren't beer afficionados, Al's Dime Bar just down from the Sparrow has a comprehensive cocktail menu (very tasty!) With the Westleigh and Delius upping their game, and the Black Swan and the 1in12 flying the flag for alternative culture, a night out in Bradford is more fun than it's been for a while. Though it seems both the Gasworks and Vampyre have shut up shop, so there's currently a shortage of places to dance.. Okay, it's not Leeds, but personally I wouldn't want it to be. mrs walker
  • Score: 10

2:23pm Sun 2 Mar 14

MontyLeMar says...

I don't agree with Staffords Hairpiece. We have quite a few decent pubs in the centre now. Sparrow, Corn Dolly, Shoulder of Mutton, City Vaults, Goose, Sir Titus, The Tyrls, Jacobs, New Beehive to name but a few. How many more do we want?

Interesting to listen to Robert Sowman's memories. He forgets that lunch time drinking was the norm in his day whereas today it's frowned upon. The old Jacobs Well was the haunt of many a local government worker. Now they all rush home to watch Sky TV because to drink and drive on today's busy roads is asking for trouble.

But good luck to the Jacobs, sorry I wasn't there, I seem to have misplaced my invitation, though I bet Bill Arnold was there - again! Suppose you're either in or you're out.
I don't agree with Staffords Hairpiece. We have quite a few decent pubs in the centre now. Sparrow, Corn Dolly, Shoulder of Mutton, City Vaults, Goose, Sir Titus, The Tyrls, Jacobs, New Beehive to name but a few. How many more do we want? Interesting to listen to Robert Sowman's memories. He forgets that lunch time drinking was the norm in his day whereas today it's frowned upon. The old Jacobs Well was the haunt of many a local government worker. Now they all rush home to watch Sky TV because to drink and drive on today's busy roads is asking for trouble. But good luck to the Jacobs, sorry I wasn't there, I seem to have misplaced my invitation, though I bet Bill Arnold was there - again! Suppose you're either in or you're out. MontyLeMar
  • Score: 5

6:00pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Colin Allcars says...

we have some decent pubs, but they are hardly that close to each other to make a night out/ pub crawl in bradford that enticing
we have some decent pubs, but they are hardly that close to each other to make a night out/ pub crawl in bradford that enticing Colin Allcars
  • Score: 0

7:40pm Sun 2 Mar 14

mrs walker says...

Colin Allcars wrote:
we have some decent pubs, but they are hardly that close to each other to make a night out/ pub crawl in bradford that enticing
I like stretching my legs between drinks. I've tried Vaults - Corn Dolly - Sparrow - Beehive - Castle - Fighting *Rooster* before (though that was an early start!) but looking at Monty's list, I'm thinking of some variations!
[quote][p][bold]Colin Allcars[/bold] wrote: we have some decent pubs, but they are hardly that close to each other to make a night out/ pub crawl in bradford that enticing[/p][/quote]I like stretching my legs between drinks. I've tried Vaults - Corn Dolly - Sparrow - Beehive - Castle - Fighting *Rooster* before (though that was an early start!) but looking at Monty's list, I'm thinking of some variations! mrs walker
  • Score: 2

8:31pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Bradford56 says...

Congratulations and hope it's a success for you. Fab little pub and it's great to see some good watering holes in our city centre! Jacobs, Bee Hive, City Vaults, Sparrow, Al's and the fantastic City Gent to mention a few. All a pleasant atmosphere and personally for me, no reason to go elsewhere. Hope it keeps continuing to get better!
Congratulations and hope it's a success for you. Fab little pub and it's great to see some good watering holes in our city centre! Jacobs, Bee Hive, City Vaults, Sparrow, Al's and the fantastic City Gent to mention a few. All a pleasant atmosphere and personally for me, no reason to go elsewhere. Hope it keeps continuing to get better! Bradford56
  • Score: 5

12:19pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Wolford6 says...

Well done to William and Christina for re-opening the Jacobs, and for running the New Beehive for twenty five years.

The city centre now has more decent real ale pubs and entertainment pubs than has been offered for many years. In addition, customers rarely see any trouble in them. We need more people to realise this and rejuvenate the night-time atmosphere.

Two live music venues that deserve special mention are the Castle on a Friday night (top notch folk music) and the Black Swan on a Saturday night (rock music and punk). In both cases, entry is free.

If anyone under forty sees a poster advertising Griff's Magic Theatre, don't be confused ... Griff is in fact a deejay playing a unique range of psychedelic vinyl tracks from the past fifty years. He's got fans of all ages and listening to his set is a bona fide experience.

It's our city, and it's great. Let's enjoy it.
Well done to William and Christina for re-opening the Jacobs, and for running the New Beehive for twenty five years. The city centre now has more decent real ale pubs and entertainment pubs than has been offered for many years. In addition, customers rarely see any trouble in them. We need more people to realise this and rejuvenate the night-time atmosphere. Two live music venues that deserve special mention are the Castle on a Friday night (top notch folk music) and the Black Swan on a Saturday night (rock music and punk). In both cases, entry is free. If anyone under forty sees a poster advertising Griff's Magic Theatre, don't be confused ... Griff is in fact a deejay playing a unique range of psychedelic vinyl tracks from the past fifty years. He's got fans of all ages and listening to his set is a bona fide experience. It's our city, and it's great. Let's enjoy it. Wolford6
  • Score: 6

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