Historical finds as Friargate gin bar Plau’s renovation continues

Posted on - 14th September, 2015 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink, Friargate, History
The original canopy being tested on Plau

The original canopy being tested on Plau

An original canopy from the early 20th century is among the finds by the owners of a new gin bar in Preston.


Plau is due to open in early 2016 and owner Jeremy Rowlands said they were finding a “veritable treasure trove of historical riches” while doing up the property in Friargate.

The boutique gin bar will bring drinking back to what is believed to be one of the oldest original drinking establishments in the city, at one time called the Plough Inn.

Mr Rowlands said: “Over the years little has been removed, just covered over when redecorated. The walls were multilayed – we have taken off seven layers to get back to the current paneling, which we believe is from when the premises was converted to shop use in the 1920s. Layers still remain behind the current paneling including an early Victorian wallpaper, which we have been told is hand painted.

“We are currently restoring the 1920s shop front in which we discovered the original black and white striped canopy only yesterday and is in remarkable condition for its age, and will be gracing Friargate once again once cleaned up.

Original gin stools found in the basement

Original gin stools found in the basement

“We believe parts of the building date back to at least the early 1700s. Indeed we discovered that the basement had been built in the fashion it has, as it was a Gin Still from the first part of the 18th Century.

“Other highlights include the sand stone vaulted ceiling and ecclesiastical style sculpted sandstone pillars in the basement, Victorian encaustic tiles at the front and in the lobby and a very early reed and plaster ceiling which we believe dates back more than 200 years.”

The former shop front in Friargate

The former shop front in Friargate

The gin bar is the latest venture from Mr Rowlands who is part-owner of the Continental group owning the South Meadow Lane pub and also The Ferret in Fylde Road.

He said: “Plau Gin and Beer House will be given an opulent, but sympathetic makeover and will have a large range of beautifully presented gin based drinks, with a range of the very best small batch beers from the best UK producers. There is some way to go yet with the refurbishment and we do not have a date for opening as yet. This will probably be in the new year now.”

What do you think of the restoration? Will you be visiting Plau when it opens? Let us know in the comments below

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