Sumners pub demolition: Former Preston landlord speaks of 'utter shock' after iconic pub bulldozed

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The landlord who opened the iconic Sumners pub in Preston in 1985 has spoken of his “utter shock” at hearing it has been bulldozed just 33 years after it was built.

Brian Ballentine, now retired and living in York, admitted he was “stunned and saddened” by the news that such a popular watering hole, especially with football fans from Deepdale Stadium, had bitten the dust only months after it was sold off by a brewery chain.

Brian Ballentine (second right) with PNE manager Brian Kidd at the Sumners in 1985.

Brian Ballentine (second right) with PNE manager Brian Kidd at the Sumners in 1985.

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“I couldn’t believe it when I got a phone call telling me it hadn’t just closed down, but had been quickly demolished,” said Brian (right with PNE boss Brian Kidd in 1985). “I know it hadn’t been doing as well as it used to, but I didn’t expect that.”

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Brian was the first landlord when the “new” Sumners opened in December 1985 to replace an adjacent pub by the same name which was knocked down to make way for a road widening scheme.

Work goes on after the demolition of the Sumners pub in Fulwood

Work goes on after the demolition of the Sumners pub in Fulwood

“What a pub it was in those days,” he said. “It was absolutely unbelievable how it took off.

"When I first opened on a Saturday lunchtime when North End were at home I didn’t know what to expect, so I had one extra barmaid on. By the time I left in 1988 we had 11 working before and after games.

“All I did was pull pints of Boddingtons and put them on the bar for the staff to hand to customers.

"But it wasn’t just on football days - on Sunday lunchtimes they would be queueing outside to get in to play Welsh Don (cards).

"No-one expected it would be so popular. So it’s so sad to hear it’s gone.”