The oldest pub in Worcester Park has served its final pint, 150 years after the first Victorian customers sauntered through its smoky saloon doors.

The Huntsman’s Hall, based on Central Road, has called time on a history dating back to the late 1850s, and will be replaced by a new lounge bar after a six-week refurbishment.

The pub closed its doors for the final time just after Christmas.

A man who lodged at the pub, who did not want to be named, said it has been a tough time.

He said: “I was living above the pub up until it was locked by bailiffs. I don’t know what was going on.”

One former regular at the pub, John McCormack, 51, said he is sad to see the Huntsman go. He said: “It used to be a great place to go, but nobody had been going there for a while.”

The pub’s rich heritage dates back to before 1861, a time when only the aristocracy in England could vote, and the American civil war had begun.

Local historian David Rymill said it is unclear precisely when the pub opened. He said: “I don’t have an exact date of construction, but I have narrowed it down to between 1856 and 1861.

"As the railway arrived in 1859 and the original name was the Railway Tavern, it seems likely it arrived around the same time, although whether it was opened in time to serve the navvies building the railway, or only in time to cater for the passengers, is not, I think, known.”

A spokesman for Punch Taverns said: “The Huntsman is closed for a short time as the current operator is assigning their lease to an incoming licensee.

“The agreement is due to complete in the next week, at which point the in-going licensee plans to begin a six-week refurbishment project, to transform the pub into a stylish lounge bar.

“We look forward to working closely with the new licensee to help them build a successful, sustainable business that is a credit to the local area.”

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