The Jolly Anglers is (or at least was before it was closed down) a small, friendly pub on the towpath beside the River Kennet in Reading, close to where the river joins the Thames (see map), and the first lock where it becomes the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Built in brick at the turn of the century, it forms part of a short terrace, one of the few remaining historical buildings that remain along the river following the 1980s redevelopment of Reading’s Orts Road area and the demolition of the Huntley and Palmer’s site on the opposite bank.
The pub was extensively refurbished in 2006 and was featured in the 2008 Good Beer Guide. The pub used to serve a variety of guest beers, food and had its own darts team. Very much a community pub, a row of sunny benches outside were ideal for locals and their families to sit at and enjoy the fresh air, as well as the many walkers, cyclists, fisherman and others that use the canal and the towpath, especially in the Summer.
On Tuesday 16 June 2009, the Jolly Anglers was suddenly closed down by its then owners, Enterprise Inns with almost no warning to staff and customers. It transpired that the pub had been sold to a property developer, and the pub has remained closed since.
Enterprise Inns claim that the pub was unviable, but the Newtown, Orts Road and Kennet Walk areas of Reading that the pub serves are all densely packed, thriving neighbourhoods, with more development planned for the large site behind Kennet Walk. With the only other pub nearby some distance away and a large passing trade of walkers, cyclists, anglers and other canal users, it’s clear that the pub could be a highly successful business in the right hands.
The Jolly Anglers is a unique and irreplaceable resource for the local community and all those who use the river. Even if you don’t live in the immediate vicinity, please read more about the campaign, and do what you can to show your support.
UPDATE - We’ve now added a photo gallery. Click here to visit.