Birgham’s community owned pub reopens

New Fisherman's Arms landlady Karen Miller (fourth from left) is welcomed to Birgham by villagers with some celebration bubbly
New Fisherman's Arms landlady Karen Miller (fourth from left) is welcomed to Birgham by villagers with some celebration bubbly

Villagers in Birgham are celebrating the news that their community owned village pub, The Fisherman’s Arms, is to reopen just over a year after the previous tenants left.

The historic pub was saved from permanent closure in 2008 when the village ran a very successful ‘Save Our Pub’ campaign, leading to Scottish Borders Council refusing change of use planning permission for the building.

Following on from that, a number of villagers got together and raised enough money to buy the pub and then made affordable shares available to all villagers.

The company then sourced experienced tenants to actually run the pub and it had been open from 2008 until late 2018.

With a large number of public houses in the UK still closing every week, the search for the right new tenants took longer than expected, especially as the village wanted people with the right ‘magic ingredient’ to take on the challenge of a rural public house.

Everyone is now delighted that the new tenants Karen and Dave Miller are on board and The Fisherman’s Arms will reopen on Friday, December 6.

Their new chef Francesco is also joining the team, with lots of exciting plans to develop the restaurant side of the business - including a pizza oven. It is also planned to source as much food and drink as possible from the superb offering available from local suppliers in the Borders and Northumberland area.

Karen said: “Dave and I are thrilled with our new venture and can’t wait to open the doors again on Friday.

“I’ve met a good number of villagers already and the warm friendly welcome we’ve received has been quite overwhelming, previous regulars have very obviously missed their only place in Birgham to meet and socialise with friends each week.

“We are also delighted to be able to provide several employment opportunities again, and we’ve met with some lovely people who want to work with us to give Birgham its pub back again. I’ve been told a very large number of Birgham teenagers have had their first work experience here over the years, and we intend to continue to support that.”

The original Birgham ‘Save Our Pub’ protest embraced the ‘Pub is the Hub’ national UK wide campaign, and the ‘Fisherman’s’ over the last 10 years has very much proved that point.

Birgham has seen a recent large growth in the number of homes within its boundaries, with a new development by Coldstream based Hudson-Hirsel having just been finished, so the need for a social gathering space to help new villagers mix and meet new friends is needed more now than ever.

Karen added: “Despite opening again this late in the year, the reservations for festive meals and parties has been amazing and our bookings diary is filling up fast, before we even open the doors for the first time! Dave and I along with our chef Francesco have lots of new ideas for next year once the Christmas tree comes down!”

The community around Birgham look set to give the ‘Fisherman’s’ their full support again and everyone is looking forward to a hot summer in the beer garden.

The pub can be contacted on 01890 830240 or search for Fisherman’s Arms Birgham on Facebook.