New Licensee Set to Restore 15th Century Dorking Pub

Posted: 10 July 2013

A Dorking pub, the Kings Arms, West Street embarked on a new chapter in its history in June when it re-opened under new licensee Gurdeep Manku. 
The 35 year-old entrepreneur, who is also licensee of The Cricketers in South Street, is passionate about restoring the pub and committed to a regeneration programme with a significant investment by brewer Shepherd Neame early next year. 
Dating back to 1405, the pub is believed to be the oldest in Dorking, the red clay tiled roof and patterned tile hanging are just some of the outstanding features of its vernacular architecture.
Says Gurdeep, “The pub’s stunning architecture and prime location caught my attention several years ago.  Since getting the keys, we’ve made a couple of alterations to brighten up the interior by taking up the carpet to restore the beautiful elm floor, as well as re-upholstering the furniture and making the toilets more presentable. We’re looking forward to working closely with the brewery to renovate the pub completely.”
Gurdeep already has some creative ideas to help tell the story of the building and its surroundings.  He hopes to include some West Street impressionist paintings and contemporary hand-drawn pencil drawings of local buildings in the interior redecoration.  Working with his father-in-law, who is a keen historian, he would also like to weave some of the pub’s historical references into the renovation.  It is believed that King Charles II stayed there and it even features in Charles Dicken’s Little Dorrit.
Plans are afoot for a classic pub food offer using local farm ingredients and Gurdeep is currently searching for the right chef to deliver a strong simple menu featuring carefully selected starters, main courses and puddings. 
Keen to tap into the Surrey Hills cycling circuit, he would also like to introduce cyclist brunch and pasta lunch menus, as well as bike locks for his two-wheeled guests!
Shepherd Neame property and tenanted trade director George Barnes says, “The Kings Arms has unique historic credentials and a prime spot on famous West Street, which is renowned in the world of antiques. A real gem, we are very excited about working with Gurdeep to redevelop it and bring out its full potential.”
For more information