Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Bounty.

We were asked to paint the sign on the front of the famous Bounty pub in the town I grew up in, which is the same town I live in now. Inspired by the hand-painted signs of the Victorian era, now referred to as Ghost Signs, this was to be a large hand-painted affair to reflect the fact that the new owners, our friends George and Michelle, planned to restore the pub to its former oak-lined glory and imbue it with a sense of its history, as well as creating an impactful frontage which would age gracefully and appropriately over time.

At one time Hinckley had 155 public houses on record, and was renowned for its drinkers. There’s been a pub and coach house on the spot for hundreds of years, since Hinckley’s marketplace is ancient. At one time Hinckley had 155 public houses on record, and was renowned for its drinkers. There’s been a pub and coach house on the spot for hundreds of years, since Hinckley’s marketplace is ancient (Shakespeare talks of Hinckley in Henry IV, Part 2 (Act 5, Scene 1): “Now, sir, a new link to the bucket must need be had: and, sir, do you mean to stop any of William's wages, about the sack he lost the other day at Hinckley fair?”
And the local saying was for many decades ‘Higham on the Hill, Stoke in the Dale; Wykin for Buttermilk, Hinckley for Ale’. 

This grainy picture of the original George Inn, where the Bounty is now, is a good one, as it shows its original name matching that of the new owner! (note you could arrange your funeral while blinding yourself blind with ale.

In this photograph the Bounty/George is on the right, the white building. The town centre doesn’t look much different today:

In recent years the pub was turned into a hideous Reflex, and when it closed in 2009, it was left empty - it didn’t stop the nosy adventurers though, as these shots from a sneaky break-in found online show:

In early January the pub was a damp, neglected building in a state of disrepair, littered by the remnants of the injurious plastic signage and the awful, insensitive interior decor of a badly-done 80s-themed bar - you know, designed by someone who thought they knew what the 80s looked like, but was probably never even there! Neon colours poorly applied had to be stripped back, acres of MDF yanked from the walls revealing a beautiful 50s piece of stained glass; the ugly pole (for ‘dancing’) was removed, along with the DJ box. Floors were replaced, arches rebuilt and complete electrical overhaul undertaken. It was a staggering amount of work, which was well underway by the time we climbed the scaffold to start the sign.

We had in fact not started with the sign - the pub needed an identity, and so I’d created that first in ink. This was going to be the pub’s swinging metal sign, until the original was found and returned by a nearby shop owner. This will become a beermat design instead! The ribbons and the type were carried over into initial ideas for the front of the pub, which were the subject of MANY meetings, held in various parts of the building with hammering, painting and sanding happening around us.

The digital mockup of the chosen one of 32 alternative designs:

Painting began with chalk lines freehanded on, followed by Leigh adding solid backgrounds mixed to our chosen colours of gunmetal grey and ivory, with gold touches. Brick was a whole lot easier to paint than breeze block, but still needed some serious going-over:

Work had to continue through the night, since this job was happening in the middle of a massive US pharmaceutical job, a DPS for a UK magazine, four book covers, and our 7” single release - and all two weeks before our week away in Portugal! In fact, our travelling companion Michelle was roped in to help finish the job at 8pm the night before a 2.30am departure...

George the owner looking pleased (on no sleep):

Almost there…

The pictures don’t really communicate what it was like up a scaffold late at night with only the friendly drunks of the Wetherspoon for company, the cold whipping down our backs and dust in our eyeballs, but it was fun, honest - Michelle and daughter Jodie made a habit of passing hot drinks through the upstairs windows - and if we were really good, crisps!

Here’s the finished sign (note the eagles on the corners of the building):

And the pub during one of its first events, a 40s-themed weekender:

And finally, a look at the beautiful new oak-lined interior, in progress and all finished.

Leigh painted the gold finishing to this embossed panelling, which runs the entire length of the hand-built bar:

And ‘B O U N T Y’ hand-painted by Graham and Sarah in architectural gold restoration paint, the three of us fuelled by chips (you can see Leigh’s gold flower paneling here):

And the finished interior:

Quite an impressive change eh? (The three photos of the interior in daylight are from the article linked at the bottom).

There’s more work to be done as George and Michelle not only bought the pub, they bought the 1960s nightclub attached to it and the huge town centre nightclub-on-stilts (recently known as Elements, but formerly Bubbles, Ritzy and Buzz) which is part of the same complex - actually a 1930s ballroom which is being restored to its former glory under its original name ’The George Ballroom’.  I’ll be posting all those developments and our creative involvement with them as they occur!

1 comment:

World of Peter George said...

Sarah, Image 16 of 24, is that good or bad timing for a progress shot?


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