Shock as time called on popular Burnley pub

Burnley's Inn on the Wharf which is to close on Sunday.
Burnley's Inn on the Wharf which is to close on Sunday.

A popular pub, that was at the centre of the hugely successful Burnley Canal Festival, will serve its final beer today.

News that the Inn on the Wharf was to close its doors after over 20 years of trading has sent shockwaves through the town.

All 12 of the full and part-time staff at the pub will lose their jobs.

Over the years the Inn on the Wharf has hosted hundreds of functions including wedding and birthday celebrations and many charity events.

Peter Lee, who has been landlord at the pub for the past seven years, said: "We stopped taking bookings for functions four to six weeks ago and all deposits for events booked will be refunded.

"In fact out of six deposits outstanding three have already been paid back and the others will be returned before we close."

In a prime position on Manchester Road, on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, the pub is a grade two listed building.

It was sold two years ago but when that sale fell through Mr Lee agreed to stay on as a caretaker landlord.

Peter said: "There are a lot of regular customers who are sorry to see the place go and I appreciate all the comments of support and thanks from them.

"Burnley is a great town and this place has so much potential."

A spokesman for the Burnley Canal Festival described the Inn on the Wharf as "an integral part" of the annual event that draws thousands of visitors to the town.

The spokesman said: "We are really sorry to hear this, what a shock. We can't imagine the festival without you.

"The visiting boaters much appreciated their welcome buffet and hospitality laid on for them at the Inn on Wharf.

"Hordes of visitors to the festival stopped off at the bar as a key part of their trip here."

Another casualty of the closure is the Pendle Jazzmen who have played at the Inn on the Wharf for the last five-and-half-years.

Spokesman Colin Mason said band members and supporters were shocked by the news.

He said: " Much effort has been made by landlord Peter Lee and his young team to try and keep the venue open.

"We have formed a great friendship over the years and he has kept the faith in the band during the last year when business seems to have waned.

"Sadly, the chances of the band finding another venue is highly unlikely."

In a bid to help anyone who may have booked a future function at the Inn on the Wharf, Nelson House and Remedy bar in Burnley have offered alternative venues.

A spokesman for Greene King said: “We were recently told by the landlord at the Inn on the Wharf, to whom we sublet the business, that he wished to leave and we have been unable to find a replacement tenant in this short time period.

"We extend our sympathies to everyone affected by the closure, which is something that was out of our hands.”