Locals face a double change to estate pub

Departing Bullnose Morris manager Ruth Wilson

Departing Bullnose Morris manager Ruth Wilson Buy this photo

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THE Bullnose Morris pub, on Oxford’s Blackbird Leys estate, is to have its second makeover in just over a year.

Manager Ruth Wilson is also leaving the Watlington Road local as it closes for a month tomorrow and is refurbished to become a Hungry Horse pub, focusing on cheap meal deals.

Mrs Wilson has run the pub since April 2011 and said she had loved every minute of it.

The 53-year-old said: “I have really enjoyed my time here, it’s been so much fun.

“The area has a reputation it doesn’t deserve.

“Blackbird Leys is great and there is such a wonderful community spirit, that is what I will take away from this place.

“The people have been amazing. They get a bad name here in Blackbird Leys and it is such a shame because it is actually really nice here.

“A lot of people said there might have been problems, but I certainly haven’t had any, and the regulars have made it such fun.

“We have a good laugh, we’ve had all sorts here in the last year, from charity nights to a community disco. I’ll be very sorry to go.”

She oversaw a redevelopment of the pub in 2011, when 10 staff were added and the pub’s history was celebrated, with an appeal to decorate it with old pictures.

The refurbishment was funded by owner Greene King, which introduced a new restaurant area and sports section, along with new toilets and a disabled entrance.

Now the pub will be pitched at families, with more food deals and child menus.

Mrs Wilson has more than 30 years’ experience in the pub trade and said she was moving to run another establishment in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Regulars have taken to the pub’s Facebook page to thank her for turning the pub’s around.

Blackbird Leys resident Hailey Marshall said: “Ruth we will miss you. You are the best thing that happened to our local, wish we didn’t have to say goodbye.”

The pub opened in March 1969 and welcomed scores of motoring fans who drove to it in some of the 155,000 Cowley-built cars which shared its name.

The pub took its name from the first William Morris car made at the nearby car plant, the Oxford.

The car, made between 1913 and 1926, was called the ‘Bullnose’ because of its distinctive round-topped radiator, which was first called the bullet nose.

Comments (12)

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7:53am Sun 3 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless?
The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

3:35pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless?
Well, there are around 5000 in the business park, most of whom head to M&S or Tesco to pick up lunch.

If you don't get there by 13.15 there is only a sparse selection left.

Hungry Horse might work there, particularly if they plan family-friendly promotions around the time the family sessions will finish at the beautiful new pool that will soon be built a moments walk away.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless?[/p][/quote]Well, there are around 5000 in the business park, most of whom head to M&S or Tesco to pick up lunch. If you don't get there by 13.15 there is only a sparse selection left. Hungry Horse might work there, particularly if they plan family-friendly promotions around the time the family sessions will finish at the beautiful new pool that will soon be built a moments walk away. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless?
The pub is on an estate of 15,000 people, the few left that now work at BMW makes no difference, there are more than enough locals.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: The pub has been in steady decline for many years, and not because of any particular bad reputation of the Leys. Instead, the 'Bullnose' has been adversely been affected by a combination of changes in social attitude toward pubs drink-driving, binge-drinking, and the loss of the tens of thousands of workers at what used to be the Pressed Steel and Morris/BL/Rover factories. Though many new businesses have indeed replaced the old 'factory' - including BMW Mini - workers in the area no longer go for a 'swift pint' at lunchtime, and many no longer live in the locale for after-work or weekend drinking. As for trying to get families to use a 're-branded' pub to emulate the likes of Witherspoons in the nearby Cowley Centre (where well-priced food is the attraction) the problem will be that the re-incarnated pub's location is not in the middle of a shopping centre, where mums and dads take their children, or where people meet-up when shopping. Instead, maybe the site needs an ASDA or Morrisons, or even a night shelter for the homeless?[/p][/quote]The pub is on an estate of 15,000 people, the few left that now work at BMW makes no difference, there are more than enough locals. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

6:30am Mon 4 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Missing the point 'Grunden Skip' - if a large local population was the main criteria, then the 'Bullnose' wouldn't have seen another management change, or been 're-branded' yet again. Both the local population and office workers might be attracted by a fast-food burger outlet, but only time will tell if the 'Hungry Horse' will be a winner, or just another 'also ran' boozer which fell at the last-chance hurdle - and maybe 'horse' might not be the wisest of names to have chosen, soon after the scares about horse meat in burgers from the likes of nearby Tesco and Burger King?
Missing the point 'Grunden Skip' - if a large local population was the main criteria, then the 'Bullnose' wouldn't have seen another management change, or been 're-branded' yet again. Both the local population and office workers might be attracted by a fast-food burger outlet, but only time will tell if the 'Hungry Horse' will be a winner, or just another 'also ran' boozer which fell at the last-chance hurdle - and maybe 'horse' might not be the wisest of names to have chosen, soon after the scares about horse meat in burgers from the likes of nearby Tesco and Burger King? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

9:52am Mon 4 Feb 13

online_reader says...

They didn't choose the name Hungry Horse, that's the name of the chain buying it. I shouldn't think the pub will change its name at all, just the branding on the signs and menus. There are already a stack of Hungry Horse pubs in Oxfordshire, e.g. The Acorn in Bicester and The Bell in Wallingford. Pubs make such a small margin on beer these days that it's food and soft drinks that are profitable, so I guess they're hoping to persuade local workers and families on the estate that it's cheap and welcoming.
They didn't choose the name Hungry Horse, that's the name of the chain buying it. I shouldn't think the pub will change its name at all, just the branding on the signs and menus. There are already a stack of Hungry Horse pubs in Oxfordshire, e.g. The Acorn in Bicester and The Bell in Wallingford. Pubs make such a small margin on beer these days that it's food and soft drinks that are profitable, so I guess they're hoping to persuade local workers and families on the estate that it's cheap and welcoming. online_reader
  • Score: 0

11:40am Mon 4 Feb 13

GRB says...

It's a shame Greene King plough thousands into the Bully but refuse to spend a single penny on The Blackbird. It's probably because The Blackbird is an old school drinkers pub and doesn't serve food ie not making the brewery much money. I can see The Blackbird closing for good within the next five years.
It's a shame Greene King plough thousands into the Bully but refuse to spend a single penny on The Blackbird. It's probably because The Blackbird is an old school drinkers pub and doesn't serve food ie not making the brewery much money. I can see The Blackbird closing for good within the next five years. GRB
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Mon 4 Feb 13

King Joke says...

THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly.

It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there.
THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly. It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there. King Joke
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Mon 4 Feb 13

King Joke says...

THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly.

It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there.
THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly. It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there. King Joke
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Mon 4 Feb 13

King Joke says...

THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly.

It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there.
THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly. It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there. King Joke
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Mon 4 Feb 13

King Joke says...

THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly.

It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there.
THe Bullnose is just too far from the Business Park to be much use I'm afraid. Even if you wanted to drive and have a soft drink at lunch, you would lose your parking space on the Business Park. If you're on the Business Park you're more or less confined to the utterly sihte Longwall monopoly. It's a shame as the Bullnose has always been OK when I've been in there. King Joke
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Missing the point 'Grunden Skip' - if a large local population was the main criteria, then the 'Bullnose' wouldn't have seen another management change, or been 're-branded' yet again. Both the local population and office workers might be attracted by a fast-food burger outlet, but only time will tell if the 'Hungry Horse' will be a winner, or just another 'also ran' boozer which fell at the last-chance hurdle - and maybe 'horse' might not be the wisest of names to have chosen, soon after the scares about horse meat in burgers from the likes of nearby Tesco and Burger King?
Not missing the point mate, The Bullnose makes money, this is just the final phase of turning it into a food oriented pub, rather than a pub that does food, it has been gradually changing for years, and that is why it is successful. It has kept the drinkers, whilst attracting eaters as well, which would not have happened if it had gone from one to the other overnight. And GRB don't worry. You wouldn't want GK to spend money on The BB cos it would change the atmosphere of as you call it, a proper pub, or drinking hole. Just carry on drinking and at over 50% profit on what you spend GK will be very happy for the pub to go on for years yet.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Missing the point 'Grunden Skip' - if a large local population was the main criteria, then the 'Bullnose' wouldn't have seen another management change, or been 're-branded' yet again. Both the local population and office workers might be attracted by a fast-food burger outlet, but only time will tell if the 'Hungry Horse' will be a winner, or just another 'also ran' boozer which fell at the last-chance hurdle - and maybe 'horse' might not be the wisest of names to have chosen, soon after the scares about horse meat in burgers from the likes of nearby Tesco and Burger King?[/p][/quote]Not missing the point mate, The Bullnose makes money, this is just the final phase of turning it into a food oriented pub, rather than a pub that does food, it has been gradually changing for years, and that is why it is successful. It has kept the drinkers, whilst attracting eaters as well, which would not have happened if it had gone from one to the other overnight. And GRB don't worry. You wouldn't want GK to spend money on The BB cos it would change the atmosphere of as you call it, a proper pub, or drinking hole. Just carry on drinking and at over 50% profit on what you spend GK will be very happy for the pub to go on for years yet. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

GRB wrote:
It's a shame Greene King plough thousands into the Bully but refuse to spend a single penny on The Blackbird. It's probably because The Blackbird is an old school drinkers pub and doesn't serve food ie not making the brewery much money. I can see The Blackbird closing for good within the next five years.
You are probably right. It's a prime redevelopment site along with the original BBL Pool and expensive to maintain community centre.

A good few social housing homes could be built, along with a new smaller (and less costly to heat and maintain) community centre.
[quote][p][bold]GRB[/bold] wrote: It's a shame Greene King plough thousands into the Bully but refuse to spend a single penny on The Blackbird. It's probably because The Blackbird is an old school drinkers pub and doesn't serve food ie not making the brewery much money. I can see The Blackbird closing for good within the next five years.[/p][/quote]You are probably right. It's a prime redevelopment site along with the original BBL Pool and expensive to maintain community centre. A good few social housing homes could be built, along with a new smaller (and less costly to heat and maintain) community centre. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

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