In 1974, my father (Jim Thompson) bought the Co-op store in Longhoughton, which had been closed for several years due to the fact that residents of Longhoughton were allowed to use the NAAFI, as the RAF quarters were built in the village.
When dad bought the Co-op, there was a covenant on the whole of Longhoughton, put in place by the 9th Duke of Northumberland because when the Duchess came out of church, two drunks were making a noise outside the pub opposite. The Duchess decreed no more alcohol in Longhoughton.
It cost my father £500 plus London solicitors’ fees to have the covenant lifted on the Co-op property. It took almost a year for the trustees of the 9th Duke of Northumberland to sign the lifting of the covenant.
We opened the Burnside on September 1,1975. I managed the pub for three years before we sold it in 1978. We had three very happy years with the support of all the Longhoughton community.
My father was publican in Warkworth for 30 years and he always said that Longhoughton deserved a pub and that is why we embarked on the purchase of the Co-op premises.
It is with a sad heart I read that it is closing and being sold back to the Co-op.
I am sure my father will be laughing at the fact his dream came true and I am sure the Co-op is having to pay more to buy it back than they got when they sold it.
I wonder if I will get the chance to buy a closed Co-op back some day to turn into a pub – at least the covenant is lifted.