Help Wanted!

Help Wanted!

Colin and Amanda are making good progress with the Black Horse and we will have an update to share with everyone at our pup-up pub on the 24th November (this Friday) with a more detailed progress report.

They are now turning their attention to clearing and improving the land around the building and would like to ask if any members of the community would be able to come and volunteer to help clearing the pond and drainage ditch areas around the Black Horse on Sunday the 26th November (this Sunday!) any time between 10am and 3pm – just drop by the Black Horse when you can make it and for as long as you can help. Some of the Black Horse Steering Committee will be there to lend a hand and we hope others might like to come along to help and burn a few calories for a good cause!

Colin says: “The areas to be cleared have nettles and brambles and there appears to be all sorts of rubbish around the pond, so strong gloves and protective clothing would be advisable. If people could bring secateurs and loppers that would be great, and if anyone has a petrol strimmer it would be helpful perhaps to clear that part of the meadow. We cannot see very easily what is in the ditch as it is so overgrown but there are definitely more brambles, so this is going to be a big task (and a big ask!) We will provide refreshments throughout the day (and lots of hot drinks!) and would be grateful for anyone’s help, even if it is only half an hour.

Note that the weather currently looks cold and dry for Sunday but if it turns bad the event will be cancelled and re-scheduled, hopefully that won’t be the case and we look forward to seeing some of you on Sunday!



It’s time to bring you news of our next pop-up pub event on:


The format will be largely the same as before with Lord Conrad’s brewery providing the bar and volunteers from the Black Horse Steering Group and the wider Dry Drayton community providing the food and running the event. We will be serving curry and rice with naan and condiments, medium, mild and vegetarian. Standard plates £5 and small plates £3. At 8pm we will as usual say a few words – we are hoping to have some news on how the pub renovations are coming along, and also will update everyone on future pop-up events and take any questions and suggestions people may have.

Drinks for the event will be: Golden Gate lager 4%, Lobster Licker 4.2%, Spiffing Wheeze 3.9%, Cider will be mixed bottles 6% to 6.7%, wine (shiraz and pinot), soft drinks (J20, Pepsi).

We would like to thank everyone who attended our Halloween pop-up on the 28th October. It was a great event and again we had a record crowd and sold out of food even though we’d prepared over 100 portions this time around! The Village Hall was completely full and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and the company, as well as the fantastic Halloween decorations!

At 8pm Colin O’Neill got up on stage and introduced Amanda and himself, as well as giving the audience plenty of detail on how the pub renovations are progressing (slowly but surely) and what is planned (revamped decor, an evening pub, cafe during the day, home cooked food at reasonable prices and good news – new toilets!). Everyone seemed impressed, and we think Colin and Amanda are going to be fantastic new members of our community.

We have had a few questions about where the profits from the pop-up events are going. We have made a small profit at the last two events and we are using these profits to help offset the costs incurred in our save the pub campaign to date. Once our campaign ends (once the pub re-opens) if there are any profits left over Dry Drayton Community Enterprises will look to use them to benefit the community in some way.

And finally, Lord Conrad’s Brewery are working on organising one final pop-up pub for 2017 (provisionally the 29th December) which we will bring you more news of in due course. Depending on how the pub renovations progress and hence when the pub is likely to reopen we may consider running more pop-up events in the new year – so watch this space and see you on the 24th!

Halloween Pop-Up 28th October

Halloween Pop-Up 28th October

Our pop-up pub on the 29th September was a roaring success and we want to thank everyone who turned out to join us and enjoy the beer, curry (and wine). We would also like to extend a special thank you to those who spent the evening setting up the venue, serving food, clearing up after the event and also, very importantly, to those who cooked. I’m sure everyone will agree that the food was excellent – we served over 100 portions and sold out; our apologies to those who turned up a little late and found it was all gone!

We had a fantastic evening and the overwhelming response when we asked the crowd if we should hold another pop-up event was a resounding yes – so here we are again with news of the next pop-up event on Saturday the 28th October, 4pm-11pm, Dry Drayton Village Hall. Food will be served from 6pm to 8pm.

The event will follow a similar format – this time we’ll be serving home-made beef (and veggie) chilli with rice, medium and mild, again £5 for a standard serving and £3 for a small. Jon from Lord Conrad’s will be joining us again and providing the pub side of things, with all our favorite beers to look forward to. There will also be wine and soft drinks available for those who are less keen on beer.

Colin and Amanda O’Neill, the new tenants of the Black Horse, will be joining us for the event and are keen to say hello and meet everyone so please come along and show them your support! At about 8pm we’ll have a brief update on the pub and Colin and Amanda will introduce themselves.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again for what we hope will be another great community get-together, please put Saturday the 28th October in your diaries!

**UPDATE** – Drinks for the evening will be:

Ales: Horny Goat (pale), Conkerwood (black) (V),
Lager: Golden Hare
Cider: Warm mulled by the cup. Bottles of Much Merry and Scratter’s
Wine: white – Pino Grigio, red – TBD.
Soft drinks: Pepsi, J2O


Pop-up News

Pop-up News

Due to circumstances beyond our control we’ve had to bring the Pop-Up pub forward one day to **FRIDAY 29th September** – please update your diaries!

Our local brewery, Lord Conrad’s, will be serving ales and cider from 4pm-11pm, and we’ve been told there are a few bottles of the ‘Save The Black Horse’ special beer left which will also be sold on a first-come first-served basis (get in quick if you want some!).

We will be serving curry (with rice) from 6pm-8pm. We’ll have standard and small sized servings of meat and veggie options, mild and medium – so hopefully something for everyone to warm themselves with now the weather is getting colder. Standard servings will be £5 and small servings £3. Any profit will be used to offset the costs incurred in our campaign.

At about 8pm we will have a brief update on what we know about the new tenants and their plans for the pub, as well as what we plan to do now the Black Horse is going to be re-opened. We have made contact with the new tenants, Colin and Amanda O’Neill, who are currently working very hard getting the pub ready to re-open (hopefully) before the end of the year. They have told us their plan is to re-open as a pub serving food and also plan to open during the day providing a cafe service. We would like to extend our warmest welcome to Colin and Amanda and wish them well with their new enterprise!

Our sincere apologies for the date change. We are very much looking forward to seeing everyone at the pop-up event, updating people on what is happening and enjoying a drink or two in support of the Black Horse.

See you on **FRIDAY 29th SEPTEMBER in Dry Drayton Village Hall!**

P.S. the drinks menu for the evening will be:

Golden Hare 4% lager
Old Brown Mouse 4.2% old English brown bitter
Conkerwood 4.5% black coffee and liquorice porter
Spiffing Wheeze 3.9% pale ale with lemongrass
Angry Wasp cider 6.5% dry
Local soft juice drinks

Lease Sold!

Lease Sold!

At our public meeting on the 4th August we mentioned rumors that the lease for the Black Horse was about to be sold, but we had no substantive evidence this was the case. Yesterday we were made aware of a removals van outside the pub and today we have a sign saying lease sold – so the rumors appear to have been true!

We have not yet made contact with the new tenants but are looking forward to meeting them and hearing their plans for the pub. We hope our efforts so far will help guide them in what services they provide and we will be on hand to help and advise as needed.

So what next? For now we are carrying on as normal, but will review the situation as we get more information. We will of course keep everyone updated via our blog, social media and newsletter at this exciting time.

A big thank you once again to everyone who has come with us on this journey so far – having raised £200,000 in pledges to date we’ve proved beyond doubt (to South Cambs District Council, as well as ourselves!) that we do not want to lose our pub. We have also really enjoyed getting together with so many of you over a pint or chatting at meetings or events.

**NOTE we will still be holding our pop-up pub on the 30th September 5-11pm in the Village Hall**

On the 30th we will also give a short update on what is happening and hopefully by this point we can start looking forward to getting together again for a pint at the Black Horse!

-The Black Horse Steering Group

We Have a Business Plan!

We Have a Business Plan!

Today we’ve published the first version of our business plan, which can be found on our PLEDGE page!

It’s been quite a while in the making as we have been putting all the pieces together, creating the financial models, consulting with our experts and writing it all up to our satisfaction. We believe it is now reflects our vision for the pub, and is ready for general release.

We’d also like to remind people that we are still taking pledges, and still need to get as close to our £250,000 target as we can. Hopefully anyone who was waiting to read the business plan before pledging now has all the information they need to make a decision.

As usual, if there are any questions about the business plan (or any aspect of our efforts) please drop us an email, or we’ll be very happy to chat at the pop-up-pub this weekend! – the Black Horse Steering Group will be attending the event and at least one of us should be around.

You can email us at the usual address:

Black Horse Beer, Bottle shop and Pop-Up Pub!

Black Horse Beer, Bottle shop and Pop-Up Pub!

This week we have news of our next bank holiday pop-up pub this weekend, in aid of saving the Black Horse, at Lord Conrad’s brewery, Saturday to Monday (26-28th August) inclusive from 2pm-10pm, including pop-up pizza on the Sunday and Monday.

This event will also include specially brewed Save the Black Horse ale! We’ve been informed this is a 3.5% ABV pale, slightly hazy beer with passion fruit notes at first followed by satisfying hoppy finish. But don’t just take our word for it, you can visit Lord Conrad’s bottle shop this week which is at the brewery and open from Tuesday the 22nd through Monday the 28th August from 11am-6pm where you can stock up on Save the Black Horse Ale along with other Lord Conrad’s favorites!

During the bottle shop and pop-up pub we will be selling Save the Black Horse tankards, in aid of saving the pub. Purchasing one of these fine pieces of merchandise will not only help us in our mission but also gain the buyer six tokens, each of which give 50 pence off the purchase of a pint at the pop-up pub!

Our graphics whizz kid Ed has produced this marvelous poster for the pop-up event (click the image to download a PDF version):

Members of the Black Horse Steering Group will be around during the pop-up pub and we hope to see many of you there – as usual we’d be delighted to chat and answer any questions.

A final note to remind people that we are still taking pledges, and still need to get as close to our £250,000 target as we can. For those waiting to read our business plan, we are nearly there now and hope to have this published in the next few days (watch this space).

Second Public Meeting

Second Public Meeting

On the Friday 4th August Dry Drayton Village Hall played host to our second public meeting as well as pop-up pub from Lord Conrad’s brewery and pop-up food from Nanna Mexico.

It was a busy evening and it was fantastic to see everyone enjoying the event and such great community engagement and support for saving the pub. We also had a guest speaker, Bernard Lee, from Pub is the Hub who shared some information about other saved pubs – and was very complimentary of our efforts!

Much like our first meeting, the Village Hall was full with standing room only and again the audience listened attentively to our update and there was a good Q&A session at the end. We believe we managed to answer all questions to everyone’s satisfaction, but as was said in the meeting we are always open to any questions so if you still want answers to any aspect of our effort please send an email to:

Following are some of the important points from meeting.


Our pledge-o-meter continues to be updated regularly and is still climbing! Although we have passed our August 1st deadline and have reached over 72% of our target we still need to achieve £250,000 of pledges so we are still taking pledges, and will continue to do so until we launch the formal share offer.

We produced a graph for the meeting showing the pledge amounts coming in over time – it shows that there has been consistent pledging throughout – and therefore if we continue to raise pledges at the same rate we should have £250,000 some time mid-end August.


After much effort, and input from our various experts and advisors our business plan is almost complete. We hope to publish this very soon, all going well. Within the plan we have tried to offer the most important services as identified by our community survey, but also be realistic in what we can do given there will need to be a relatively large sum spent just on bringing the pub back up to a good state of repair and refitting the (currently stripped out) fixtures and fittings such as the kitchen.


During the meeting we spent some time going over a little more technical detail of the formal share offer and how the shares work. A lot of this info can be found in the notes on the PLEDGE page, and the soon-to-be-published business plan has a section which explains the important bits of how the shares work in an easy to digest manner.

We will launch the formal share offer once we have:

  1. The published business plan (coming soon!)
  2. The SITR tax-relief scheme approved on the share offer (ongoing with HMRC)
  3. An offer in principle accepted by the owner of the Black Horse


An initial, formal offer for the freehold of the pub has been made to the agents based on our professional valuation (and copied to South Cambs District Council). Although the offer has been rejected, we will continue our dialog with the agent. We are also trying to contact the owners of the pub to try and engage them in honest dialog about our efforts, the valuation of the pub and if they were willing to come to a deal. It is still our intent to try and buy the freehold of the Black Horse and we have taken the first steps to do this well before the ACV moratorium ends on the 6th September so we are doing very well!

Even though this initial offer has been turned down it has provided very strong evidence (to the council) that the community want to keep the pub, and therefore makes it very unlikely that the council would grant change of use of the property.


Here’s anther slide from the meeting showing the key next steps we need to take to re-open the pub. Note that DDCE is “Dry Drayton Community Enterprises Ltd.” the Community Benefit Society we have set up to buy and run the Black Horse for the community.


Finally – thanks to all who attended, we’ll say it again that we are truly humbled by the support of the community and it’s always very rewarding to set up an event or meeting and see the community get together!

Also very sincere thanks to those who have pledged – without pledges we would not be in the strong position we are today, having already made an offer for the pub!

So thank you!


Public meeting and pop-ups

Public meeting and pop-ups

Public Meeting on Friday 4th August at 8pm to Save The Black Horse
Village Hall, Dry Drayton

At our second public meeting we will be giving you a progress update and explain what is going to happen next.  As you would expect the Black Horse Steering Group has been very busy. We have registered Dry Drayton Community Enterprises Ltd (Society registered No  7606) which will be the legal entity that will submit our offer for the Black Horse freehold on behalf of the community. More about this at the meeting. Pledges have been coming in fast and at the time of this post we are standing at £140,000 which is absolutely amazing.  So a big thank you to those who have already pledged. If you intend to pledge and haven’t done so then we urge you to go to our online pledge form where you will find notes and an easy form to complete.  We are very keen to get closer to our target of £250,000 by early August.  Alternatively, you can go to the pledge page on our website where you will be able to download a PDF version of the pledge form.

Pop-up pub and pop-up food on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th August
Outside Village Hall, Dry Drayton

On Friday 4th August from 6pm to 11pm Lord Conrad will be serving his special brews outside the village hall.  Lord Conrad’s pop-up will return to the village hall on Saturday 5th August and you will be able to enjoy a drink from 2pm to 11pm.  As you may know Lord Conrad’s micro brewery is located in the village at Dry Drayton industrial estate where many craft beers have been created since 2007. We even have a special Save the Black Horse brew being prepared.  Perhaps some of you tried his beers at the fun run on 4th July at the school.


We are pleased to announce that between 6pm and 9pm on Friday Nanna Mexico will be serving their delicious and authentic street food.

On Saturday 5th August from 6pm – 9pm we will be welcoming Azahar Spanish food van.  We recommend that you get there early on both days if you want food. These vans can sell out.


Black Horse History

Black Horse History

A quick post to say thanks to Rosemary Gardiner for providing an entertaining short history of the Black Horse which can be found on our now updated PUB HISTORY page, along with some photos of the pub from the local archive.

We certainly enjoyed reading it and hope you do too!