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26th September 2023

Historic Greene King Pub Reopens After Fire

The Axe & Compasses in Arkesden, Essex has reopened after a devastating fire caused by an electrical fault burned the pub down more than a year and a half ago.

The pub was officially reopened by Greene King Pub Partners Managing Director Dan Robinson, alongside operators David and Emma Christou whose family have run the pub business for more than 30 years.

In total, more than £1.6 million has been invested to repair and reopen the Axe & Compasses back to its former glory.

The attention to detail with the re-build has been second to none, with key aspects such as the pub’s historic chimneys being removed and rebuilt brick by brick, and the discovery of the pubs original floor which has now been conserved and re-laid.

As part of the pub’s rebuild, modern technologies have been incorporated with the inclusion of a heat pump and a solar thermal system – uniting tradition and heritage with an eye on the future.

The considerable investment in the pub has also been an opportunity to enhance its exterior, including upgrading the outdoor trading space so customers can enjoy the pubs garden all year round.

Operated by the Christou family for over 30 years, originally by Themis Christou and in more recent years son David and daughter-in-law Emma Christou, the Axe & Compasses has long been known in the local area as an excellent pub with fresh food, great service and the community at its heart. With its reopening, the family and their team are excited to launch an extensive new menu, drinks and all-new accommodation at the pub.

David and Emma Christou, Operators of The Axe & Compasses, said:

“Words cannot describe how happy we are to see The Axe & Compasses back open!

“The clean-up and rebuild process has been long and arduous, but also exciting. The pub has been lovingly restored and brought back to life and we cannot wait to now welcome the community back in.

“The level of detail with the restoration has been second to none and along the way we have discovered previously hidden fireplaces, flooring and more! The restoration has also been a great opportunity to enhance the pub, particularly outside the front and the beer garden.

“Now we are back open we will continue to provide the same incredible atmosphere and sense of community we have long been known for in the local area with our loyal and dedicated team.”

Dan Robinson, Managing Director of Greene King Pub Partners, said:

“We are beyond delighted to see The Axe & Compasses back open and serving the people of Arkesden once more.

“The £1.6 million restoration and rebuild has not only brought the pub back to life, but given it a whole new lease of life. The horror of the fire and the difficult rebuild process has been exceptionally tough, but now David, Emma and the local community can look forward to exciting times again in this much loved and cherished pub.”


Notes to editors

Press Contact: Nick Lawrie Email: Tel: 07812 256245

Please see attached for pictures of the newly restored and rebuilt pub.

About Greene King:

Greene King is the country’s leading pub company and brewer with c.2,600 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland.

At Greene King we are passionate about delivering our purpose to ‘pour happiness into lives’. That’s for our customers, our team, our pub partners, our suppliers and the communities in which we live, operate and serve. Founded in 1799 with offices in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and Burton on Trent in Staffordshire we employ around 39,000 people across the group with four divisions: Greene King pubs, Destination Brands, Partnership and Ventures, and Brewing & Brands.

  • Greene King pubs are located where people and communities come together; pubs enjoyed in cities, towns and villages throughout the country
  • Destination Brands is a mixture of food and drink-led brands including Hungry Horse, Farmhouse Inns, Chef & Brewer, Wacky Warehouse, and Pub & Carvery, Pub & Dining and Pub & Grill
  • Partnerships & Ventures includes Pub Partners, which runs our tenanted and leased pubs business and Hive Franchise pubs, and our Ventures Brands which is made up of Metropolitan Pub Company, Hickory’s, Hotels Group and Crafted Pubs

Brewing & Brands covers the brewing sides of the business. Quality ales are brewed at the Westgate brewery in Bury St Edmunds and the Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar. Our industry-leading portfolio includes Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale, Ice Breaker and Belhaven Best and our premium beers, Level Head and Flint Eye, brewed for the modern-day drinker.

About Greene King Pub Partners:

Greene King Pub Partners operates over 1000 leased, tenanted and franchise pubs across England, Scotland and Wales with independent business partners. In March 2023 it was recognised as the best leased and tenanted pub company at the Publican Awards, the 6th time Greene King Pub Partners has won the national industry award.

Press Contact: Nick Lawrie Email: Tel: 07812 256245

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