The soft tones of electric and acoustic Blues can often be heard filling the lounge bar of The Crown these days, as new owners Robert and Theresa Crofts take over the reins and put their mark on one of Knaphill’s old pubs.
In his book; Knaphill (All in One Place), local historian and author Mal Foster tells us ‘The Crown in the High Street first appears as a “beer house” in the 1871 census. Its landlord at the time was William Coombs aged 56, who ran the premises with his wife Harriett. They had three sons and a daughter. Like many pubs in the area, its two bars are now converted to one following a number of refurbishments since the 1970s.
‘As recently as 2009’ continues Mal, ‘The Crown gained national notoriety when an “exotic dancer” employed by the pub, was charged (and subsequently cleared) of attacking the landlord and his wife with a stiletto shoe. Needless to say, the pub is now under new ownership.’
Indeed Robert and Theresa are the second new owners since those interesting times and are poised to make The Crown the “go to” place in the centre of the village again. But for all the right reasons.
You may not know it, but: The Crown have things happening most days and will be running various events throughout the year, such as BBQs, Caribbean cuisine, food, live music, quizzes, pool matches and various fund raising activities for local charities. Robert says ‘we are always open to suggestions.’
Robert and Theresa had their official opening party on 16th August and had a fantastic night with a Caribbean BBQ and the great beats of the reggae and Ska band Reminisce. Robert has asked us to thank everyone for coming and says he looks forward to seeing you all again soon and meeting others at future events.
The Knaphillian caught up with Robert and asked him to tell us a little about themselves.
The Knaphillian (TK): Hi Robert – we would like to offer you and Theresa a big welcome to Knaphill and hope you will be very happy here.
TK: How would you describe your business?
Robert: We are a local friendly pub serving great drinks and soon to be great food.
TK: What did you want to be when you were at school?
Robert: I wanted to join the army and be a soldier and a chef. But I had a good family life and didn’t want to leave them for long periods, so I took an apprenticeship.
TK: Have you come from a background as publicans?
Robert: I left school and started an apprenticeship but realised that wasn’t for me. But I trained in pub management in 1986 after trying various jobs and haven’t looked back.
TK: What other jobs did you have before you started in this business?
Robert: I was a builder for lots of different periods during my working life. I have run pubs and building companies simultaneously to keep busy. I have tried most things including door and security work working in shops… all sorts. But now I am just concentrating on my family and The Crown.
TK: What made you choose Knaphill as a place to run a pub?
Robert: We took over here in March 2019. The village has a community appeal and a good vibe and me and my family are looking forward to be being a part of it.
TK: What’s the most unusual thing you have been asked to provide?
Robert: I was asked to arrange a wake for someone in the pub by the person himself! He wanted to be with his friends to celebrate his life. Pretty cool of him huh?
K: What is the best decision you ever made and why?
Robert: Marrying my wife definitely, because she and the family make me feel complete.
TK: Who are the people in business or just in life who inspire you?
Robert: Alan Sugar in business. I admire the way he started from nothing and grew into what he is today and takes a no nonsense approach. It’s very refreshing. And David Bowie in life, as he is the ultimate chameleon and showman. Changing his persona and character to suit HIMSELF whenever and however he wanted to at that time.
TK: Do you have any hobbies?
Robert: I like to play golf, even though I am rubbish. My handicap is the clubs and ball! I also enjoy racing simulations on PS4 (who knows might be good enough to try for real one day #Bucketlist)
TK: If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Robert: Save money earlier for the future. We never think about money much when we are young, do we? At some point you look back and realise how much you could have saved and what you could do with it now.
TK: What has been your best moment so far in business?
Robert: Starting this venture with my wife.
TK: What are your hopes for the future?
Robert: To make a success of this new business so we can be comfortable and I can make my family happy.
TK: What do you do on your days off?
Robert: I don’t have days off!!!
TK: What makes you laugh or feel happy?
Robert: My kids make me laugh and be happy. So does seeing people in my pub having a good time.
TK: What makes your weekend complete?
Robert: Locking the pub on a Sunday knowing my customers have had an enjoyable time and spent some money!
TK: Anything else you would like to add:
Robert: Just that we are looking forward to meeting many more locals and having a long stay in Knaphill.
Thank you Robert.
33 High Street Knaphill, Surrey GU21 2PP
Monday 4pm – 11pm
Tuesday 1pm – 11pm
Wednesday 1pm – 11pm
Thursday 1pm – 11pm
Friday 1pm – 11.30pm
Saturday 1pm – 11.30pm
Sunday 1pm – 10.30pm
For bookings or enquiries please phone: 01483 400511