Support Our Swan

The Swan in Clewer, Windsor has been closed for over three years. We now own it and have started the required renovation work required. Our vision is to restore it as a local pub, a real community hub and as a social enterprise assisting young people with additional needs. However, The Swan needs significant work by us - this is being funded by the local community.

Various views of The Swan

Current status (21/02/19)

REFURBISHMENT

During the week, we have a number of people and companies going in to work on The Swan. They have a veriety of skills and time available. We are trying to record what is going on so we can share on an ongoing basis.

As with all refurbishments, it will look worse before it gets better. Honest.

Since the volunteering day in early February:

  • Sootbusters have checked out and cleaned three of the five chimneys, the other two will need further investigation.
  • Taken down the ceiling in the office.
  • Removed the rotten floor boards in the bar area.
  • Opened up several airbricks that had been sealed and prevented the building breating properly.
  • Taken more of the bar walls back to the brickwork.
  • Removal of dangerous slates from the stables' roof.

There is still plenty more to do. See the recent photos here. We will be posting more as we go along. For example, planned activities include:

  • Scaffolding to go up in the next week to ten days to allow work on the roof, gutters and windows.
  • Tarpaulin will be go over the stables to prevent the ingress of water.
  • The plumber (a volunteer) carry on his work to sort out, and where appropriate modernise, the pipe work.

FINANCIAL STATUS

We're pleased to tell you that, thanks to your support, we've hit our £200,000 funding target and filled our barrel to overflowing. That is a fantastic achievement and reflects the determination to save the Swan by almost 200 contributors.

As of Friday 15th February, our total is £219,500 – made up of:

  • £194,000 in shares,
  • £23,500 in loans and
  • £2,000 in a charitable donation.

As the volunteers from the site clearance weekend will testify, the pub is not in a good state. In fact, we now know that we need to spend more than we budgeted to get the pub into a basic state to open by St. George's Day. For the next few weeks conractors will be in making structural repairs and fixing the roof to make the building watertight once again.

As many of you have said you'd still like to invest, we've set a new target and limit of £250,000 in investor shares.

However when we reach that, we’ll close the share offer. In any case, whether the offer is fully subscribed or not, we'll close it before we open the pub. Your shares will be designated as Founder shares and no more will be issued on those terms. We still plan to issue share certificates within six weeks of completing the purchase of the pub. We will be issuing a “prospectus” to clarify terms shortly.

At present there is no limit on the number of loans (below £1,000) or charitable donations that we are accepting.

ADVANCED NOTICE

Another volunteering day is planned on Saturday 2nd March. Keep the date free! More info shortly. Why the delay? We must now wait for some of the important building work to take place. Close attention is going to be paid to the roof and ground work required so watch this space. More info will be posted on the events page soon.

SITE CLEARANCE

There was an excellent turnout over the weekend to start the site clearance. What we were able to achieve exceeded all expectations. There was so much to clear out of the property from endless sofas and beds to mountains of bric a brac and pub paraphernalia. With everyone’s help we have now cleared the building of all it's "stuff", making a blank canvas for the more structural building work to take place. The rotten decking and canopy have been removed as well as the interior bar.

The event was recorded:

  • Have a look at our Instagram timelapse video sequence from Saturday morning.
  • Our volunteer professional photographer was also taking photos of the site clearance on Sunday afternoon.
  • We are really pleased that the volunteers were taking photos throughout both days and posting them to Facebook.
  • We have also started a Photo Gallery for the Site Clearance Weekend; more photos to follow.
  • If you see the photos of the site you will understand we still have need for supplies; can you help?.

CEREMONY OF THE KEYS: And not forgetting that wonderful day when nearly 200 Supporters shared the marking of completing the sale and getting the keys. Some photos can be found in our new Photo Gallery.

Please give generously

The finance has been made up of a mortgage augmented by funds from the two main business investors, Will Calvert and Richard Allen for The Green Room School.

However, even with the substantial support that is being given, we need £250,000 to support the first phase of the renovations required. We are therefore continue to seek further help from the local community through potential investment; this is from people who care about supporting social enterprises such as The Swan or simply care about local community life.

So far, £219,500 had been lodged in our bank to support the refurbishment. Local supporters have generously invested, but we still need your help and additional investments to make this vision a reality.

For the very latest news on our endeavours and how you can make a difference, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Nextdoor.

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Soaked in history

The Swan always been more than just a watering hole for thirsty locals. Situated on Mill Lane within the Clewer Village area of Windsor, it's a leisurely 20 minute walk from Windsor Castle. The Swan dates from the 18th century, and during its long history has served as a coaching inn and courthouse. It's also been known variously as The Swan Inn and The Swan Hotel too.

According to local folklore, there is a tunnel linking The Swan to the local church of St Andrews. There is a debris filled hole within the pub which is claimed to be the entrance. Whether this is true, or one of the Victorian pranks common in Windsor, is unclear. Around the 1870s, the coroner held inquests and post mortems at The Swan for those that had drowned in the nearby Thames. It is said that the last journey of those unfortunate souls was through the tunnel to the church.

Being close to the Thames Path for walkers, National Routes 4 and 61 for cyclists, and the Royal Windsor Racecourse means that this community hub is never too far from the action. It finally closed in 2016.

Now it's our turn to open its doors and write the next chapter in its long-standing history.