The Greyhound - meet the family behind the rescued Cromford pub
PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 September 2019
Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.
Catherine Roth meets the couple who have transformed the historic Cromford hotel and restaurant
Paul and Tina Waddingham have good cause to celebrate after being awarded 'Best Bar and Pub in Derbyshire, County Winner' organised by The National Pub and Bar Awards 2019 for their family-run business. In just under two and a half years they have turned The Greyhound Hotel Bar & Restaurant in Cromford into a successful business offering an extensive food and drinks menu as well as hotel accommodation. Building the business has been a challenge but one that continues to be a labour of love.
The Greyhound was originally built in 1778 by Richard Arkwright, who built the Mills in Cromford. Now a Grade II listed building it still retains its imposing Georgian grandeur. Tina says, 'There is an anticipation when you stand outside the building about what's inside and we want that to be met when people walk in.' It's a building that is traditional but with a contemporary touch.
Paul and Tina met when they were working in the hospitality industry and have managed various establishments across the country, including a 16th-century coaching inn, before opening their own restaurant in Derby which they ran for seven years. However, wanting to spend more time with their then three-year-old son they left the hospitality industry. Paul then moved into wines and spirits distribution, a career he pursued until just four years ago when he and Tina decided they wanted to run their own hotel and restaurant again.
Paul says, 'Our children had grown up and football weekends were out of the way! We had the time so started to look for somewhere with the right formula - location and potential - and The Greyhound came onto the market in 2016.
'When we took over the place, the building had recently lost its way as it struggled to find its identity, but we were keen to put it back on the map.'
They collected the keys to The Greyhound on Tina's birthday but there was little time to celebrate as they set to work on an intensive three month refurbishment plan before opening in February 2017.
Tina says, 'We did almost everything ourselves. It's a family effort involving our three children, Paul's brother and sister and my aunt - very much a family business. Our daughter Danielle and youngest son Liam now work full time at The Greyhound whilst our eldest son Sam, a graphic designer, does all the graphic design work including menu design.'
With a building of such rich heritage, Paul and Tina were keen to retain and showcase as much of its history as possible. Original stained-glass windows were cleaned and the lantern that hangs above the door outside, containing one of the original lamps, was refurbished. Their work also revealed parts of the building's history that had previously lain hidden. When an area around the bar that had been boarded up with plasterboard was taken away they discovered original beams. The same happened when they removed one of the walls to extend a bathroom and discovered yet more original beams; both have since become features. They also salvaged items that had long been discarded. Paul says, 'We found some old wine racks with half an inch of dust on them locked away in an old store cupboard. They were over 100 years old and we refurbished them to make the frontage of the wine bar and the shelves at the back.'
Different dining areas were created to give each space its own identity. From light and airy rooms to cosy corners each has its own colour scheme and story to tell, with an emphasis on the history.
Tina says, 'We're not designers but we created mood boards for all the areas using our own intuition and tastes. Our furniture is mix and match. We visited auctions, travelling up and down the country buying pairs and fours of chairs and sofas as well as a four-poster bed from Cumbria. It was an exciting time pulling it all together!'
The front dining room, aptly named The Market Room, overlooking as it does the market place, is decorated with wallpaper that replicates an 1890 map of the local area. In the lounge Sir Richard Arkwright is brought to life through a portrait that one of the family's friends painted on the wall. There are also accessories including a spinning wheel and a donated sewing machine that once belonged to Smedley's Mill. Old photographs and paintings hang on walls throughout the building and Tina and Paul have also bought old books and brassware to fill the shelves.
Whether it's cosy dining for two or a larger party, all the food is freshly prepared and locally sourced where possible - indeed, all their meat comes from Figgshaws, the butcher's shop that is literally just across the road. From light lunches, pizza nights and bar food to à la carte dining, there are menus to suit all tastes with almost everything made from scratch - even down to the pastry for the ever-popular pies. As the seasons change, so too do the menus, ensuring there is always something new. Head Chef Nigel Shaw says, 'I start by speaking with suppliers to see what will be in good supply and quality for the coming season. Then it's the creative process which means lots of coffee, head scratching and research! For me it's not about emulating something that's in fashion but getting ideas and making something as original as it can be.'
Such varied dishes are accompanied by an extensive drinks menu including no less than 70 wines of which 24 can be served by the glass. With Paul's knowledge of wines - he previously travelled the world selling wines to supermarkets including M&S and Aldi - he is sharing his skills with regular wine tasting events. These include five-course dinners featuring dishes from whichever country the evening's wines are from.
Yet despite their success with the bar and dining areas, Paul and Tina knew that the key to profitability lay in accommodation and The Greyhound comes with eight en-suite bedrooms. They have named each room after local Derbyshire places or the view from the window, hence Black Rocks, Wirksworth, Bonsall, Middleton, Millpond, Millview and Allen's Hill. The only exception is the Sir Richard room. Tina says, 'It's such a grand room that we named it after the great man himself!'
By the nature of the job the days are long but, for Paul and Tina, their satisfied customers make it all worthwhile. For them it is a labour of love and a new adventure as they look forward to welcoming new and returning guests to The Greyhound.