In September 2001, The Duncan Edwards pub was officially opened. Formerly known as The Wren’s Nest, in Priory Road, it is only 100 yards away from where Duncan was born. An £80,000 refurbishment has resulted in a new look for the pub – which has a theme celebrating Duncan’s career. A pub regular has been commissioned to create pictures of the player which will be displayed on the pub’s walls.
December 2005: Pub closed down
RAGING residents are calling on brewery bosses to remove the name of the legendary Duncan Edwards from a derelict pub – branding it `disgraceful’ and `disrespectful’.
Priory protesters have now joined forces with ward councillors to get the name of the town’s most famous son taken off the boarded up Priory Road public house.
The rundown Punch Taverns establishment was closed just before Christmas but has become a target for vandals, arsonists and unruly youths.
With the imminent visit of Sir Bobby Charlton next month to open a new ¬£100,000 footie facility opposite the eyesore, organisers are determined to get the problem sorted.
Friends of Priory Park chairman Janet Alderman Rowe said: “The pub in its present state is an utter disgrace.
“This man is an icon in Dudley and his memory is very vivid on the estate – so does this pub really signify his life? No it doesn’t and we want to see action taken.
“If it’s not removed it will be very embarrassing when Sir Bobby drives down Priory Road and sees it.”
Outraged ward councillor Margaret Aston has also taken up the fight and is eager something is done with the rundown site.
She said: “To see Duncan Edwards’ name attached to the building is terrible and no way to remember his life.
“Since the pub closed we’ve had serious problems with antisocial behaviour and there has been at least two attempted arson attacks this month.
“Unless something is done urgently with the site it will be come nothing other than a drugs’ den.”
Punch Taverns’ bosses have attempted to ease residents’ fears.
A spokesman said: “We recognise the concerns of local residents and are in the process of recruiting for the pub with the intention to have it reopened as soon as possible.
“In the meantime the site has been secured and we will look to invest in the property once a suitable licensee has been found.”
Source: thisistheblackcountry.co.uk, January 2006
May 2006: Pub destroyed by fire
A WELL-known Priory pub ravaged by a huge blaze could be demolished despite the brave efforts of 70 firefighters. Residents watched on as 10-foot flames flew from the roof of the derelict Duncan Edwards pub. The ferocious fire broke out at the famous landmark on Priory Road, late on bank holiday Monday and is believed to have been started by arsonists.
Crews were finally able to get the fire under control in the early hours of Tuesday but flames were still visible more than 12 hours later. Four main jets were in use and water was being pumped from Priory Road but an additional supply was needed due to the severity of the fire.
Since the pub was closed late last year there have been numerous attempted arson attacks as well as it becoming a haven for drug dealers and vandals. Fed up residents spoke of how they had been warning pub bosses of the problems for months. Friends of Priory Park member, Chris Rich, said: “This is something we have been warning Punch Tavern bosses about for months.
“Even before it closed it was a haven for anti-social behaviour but since it closed this problem has spiralled. “We have grown sick and tired of it so hopefully some good news will come from the blaze at this eyesore. “I hope they knock it down and clear the site and make good use the site.
A Punch Taverns spokesman said: “We are dismayed at this latest act of vandalism and have acted immediately to deal with the situation. Fortunately the main structure of the building is undamaged and we are now holding discussions over the state of the roof which was almost completely destroyed. A decision on the future of the pub has yet to be made as we consider our options.”
Source: thisistheblackcountry.co.uk, May 2006
December 2006: Pub demolished
A FAMOUS Priory pub labelled an eyesore’ has been demolished after firefighters were called out to it five times in two days.
Time has finally been called at The Duncan Edwards Pub in Priory Road, which was pulled down by demolition teams last week.
Fed up residents who claimed the derelict building was a drug dealing haven have campaigned to get the eyesore knocked down.
The famous town pub finally closed its doors last Christmas and stood empty before a huge fire ravaged it in May, leaving it gutted.
A large crowd of residents gathered to watch the pub being pulled to the ground last Thursday (December 14).
Delighted Brian Wilson, chair of the Priory Tenants and Residents Association, said: “I am very happy it’s down. I was most worried someone would get injured, especially with all the loose masonry about. I just hope now though that they clear away all of the rubbish.”
Priory councillor Margaret Aston said: “It was an horrendous week last week with four fires in one night.”
The landmark pub, which in its heyday thrived as The Wren’s Nest, was officially renamed the Duncan Edwards Pub in 2001 to honour the local football legend who was killed in the Munich air disaster in 1958.
Plans are already in the pipeline from new site owners Clubhire Ltd for 36 two-bedroom apartments, three and four bedroom houses and three big retail units, possibly to be let to a supermarket.
Middlesex-based Clubhire Ltd will apply for planning permission in the New Year.
Vijay Lakani, who represents the buyer, said: “This is an exciting project which will benefit the community and bring new life into Dudley.
Source: thisisdudley.co.uk, December 2006