Derbyshire pub forced to close is on the market

A Derbyshire real ale pub that was forced to close after it was hit hard by the Covid pandemic is on the market. Bodell’s opened in May 2019 but shut its doors less than a year later after the UK went into its first lockdown in March 2020.

The venue on Belmont Street, Swadlincote was hit by subsequent lockdowns and bosses later revealed it would close for good on New Year’s Eve 2021. They blamed increased overheads and a fall in the number of customers.

Its owners said the pub was “unviable” in its current form. Staff were offered alternative jobs at its sister pubs – The Last Heretic, in Station Street, Burton and Beeropolis, in High Street, Burton, Staffordshire Live reports.

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In a post to customers announcing the closure, a spokesman for the pub said: “An unforeseen increase in our overheads, in conjunction with rising supply chain costs and a significantly reduced footfall has resulted in the business becoming unsustainable going forward. We have not taken this decision lightly, however the reasons above, compounded by the ongoing effects of the coronavirus have resulted in Bodell’s becoming unviable in its current form.”

The pub – named after one of Swadlincote’s most famous sons, boxing legend Jack Boddell, is up to let for £12,000 a year. Estate agents Salloways say that while it is a bar and restaurant premises it is also suitable for a variety of other commercial uses, subject to planning permission from South Derbyshire District Council.

A report on the venue to potential new businesses wanting to take it on said: “Central town location in this rapidly developing area which includes Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons Food Stores, significant new housing and the successful Tetron Point Business Park.”

Who was Jack Bodell?

Jack Bodell was a British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight champion after first training in his youth at a gym in the Royal Oak pub, in Newhall, Swadlincote. He boasted an incredible boxing career record of 58 wins in 71 fights, with 31 by knockout,

He famously invited Muhammad Ali to open his Knockout fish and chip shop and on one occasion was told by well known sportswriter Desmond Hackett that the latter would clean every window in his house if he beat Joe Bugner in a bout. After Bodell’s win, Hackett turned up with a bucket and a cloth to pay his debt.

He sparred with Ali and also fought Henry Cooper.

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