Thursday, 5 September 2013

Corrie A-Z: R is for the Rovers Return (Part 2)

With thanks to Corriepedia for all the info on the history of the Rovers. Having looked at the history of the Rovers from 1902 to 1984 yesterday, today we look at the period between 1985 and 2000.
 
Bet Lynch/Gilroy and Alec Gilroy 1985-1995
 
Bet had always been popular amongst the punters since she became a barmaid in 1970 and they persuaded her to compete against Gordon Lewis for the job of manageress. Bet didn’t think she’d get the job because Newton and Ridley because she was unmarried, but the customers made a petition demanding her being installed as manager. A year after taking over, Bet nearly died in the Rovers when it caught fire. Bet was rescued by Kevin Webster. The pub was refurbished and officially re-opened by Hilda Ogden, the pub’s longest serving staff member at the time – having been a cleaner since 1964. In 1987, the brewery decided to sell the tenancy. But Bet couldn’t raise the funds and asked Alec Gilroy for a loan. But despite the loan, Bet was still in financial difficulties and fled to the Costa del Sol, leaving Alec and the brewery in the lurch. After a few months, Alec flew out and proposed to her – stating that they could run the Rovers together – her as landlady and him as licensee. Bet and Alec married that year, much to the residents’ surprise.
 
In 1990, the brewery planned to buy 1 Coronation Street that was going on sale, in an attempt to expand the Rovers. But the residents and the Gilroys protested and the brewery backed down. In 1992, Alec was offered a job as an entertainment manager on cruise ships. He persuaded Bet that they move to Southampton, and after convincing the brewery to buy the back the tenancy, Bet realised she couldn’t part with the Rovers and thus the Gilroys’ marriage was over. Bet continued to be manageress until 1995 when the brewery decided to sell up again – not just the tenancy but the Rovers as well. Yet again, Bet’s lack of funds forced her to ask best pal Rita and step-granddaughter Vicky for a loan. When they both refused, Bet left the Rovers and the street after 25 years.
 
Jack and Vera Duckworth with Alec Gilroy 1995-1998
 
Following Bet’s departure, the brewery put the pub on the market. Jim and Liz McDonald were interested but were pipped to the post by the recently affluent Duckworths. As Jack had a criminal record, Vera was made licensee. Jack of course had been a potman at the Rovers since 1985. Vera was in her element, thinking herself as the new Annie Walker. But, sadly, the Duckworths were workshy and struggled to keep the business afloat. In 1997, Alec Gilroy (who’d returned to the cobbles in 1996) bought 50% of the Rovers but the partnership failed and Alec bought the rest of the pub, on the condition that the Duckies were allowed to continue living in the pub. But over the months, the relationship soured and Alec decided to go back on the deal and sack and evict them. But the Duckies weren’t going without a fight and refused to back down. While Alec pondered his next move, granddaughter Vicky re-entered his life and suggested they go into partnership in a wine bar in Brighton. Alec sold the Rovers to Natalie Barnes and moved on.
 
Natalie Barnes 1998-2000
 
Natalie liked the Rovers because that’s where her late husband Des (although they’d only been married a few weeks!) was a regular. She wished to live there so kicked the Duckies out. After two years of the joint, she found she was pregnant. As the father of the baby had had an affair with her sister, Natalie opted to sell the pub and move away – she didn’t want to be a single mother with a pub. While she had intended to sell it to a pub chain that wished to turn it into a theme pub, in the end she sold it to local businessmen Mike Baldwin, Fred Elliott and Duggie Ferguson.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Were the Duckworths really so work-shy and is that why they lost the Rovers? Wasn't it more to do with incompetence? I seem to remember that they hadn't taken into account that they would have to pay their VAT bills and then were bankrupted as a result. Isn't that just a lack of business savvy?

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