Officially, Knebworth is one of the largest villages in Hertfordshire with a population of approximately 5,250 residents. It is also one of the most sparsely populated villages in terms of pubs. Shortly after I moved into Knebworth in October 2016, the only pub in the centre of the village, The Station closed its doors in early 2017. The only other pub in the local vicinity located in the old village of Knebworth some 1.5 miles from the main village centre also closed.
The Station was earmarked for redevelopment when the sight was purchased by developers but a hard fought battle to save the pub resulted in the local parish council purchasing the premises from the developers. The parish council put out a tender for an independent tenant to run the pub on a lease basis. It was felt the time was right to find tenant landlords who were able to run a business that better reflected the needs of the population of the village.
The new tenants
Enter Becky and Lloyd Willis. They successfully won the tender presenting their philosophy of how a modern village pub would best be run and over a period of some months, the original building was turned around from a rather dated stingy and tired building into what is now a friendly seated food led facility with a great range of beers that the whole village can enjoy. The pub finally reopened on Valentine’s Day 14th February 2020 but shortly afterwards disaster struck when just five weeks after opening, the country went into a nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the newly opened pub was forced to close. After three months of closure, the pub finally reopened its doors once again. In August, head chef Vicky along with the help of the rest of the Station team ran a cook-off of a stunning new gourmet menu.
Commercial photographer in Knebworth
Simon Lane, head commercial photographer at Indigoplum and local resident of Knebworth photographed the new dishes along with other detail shots around the pub. The idea was to boost the look and appeal of the atmosphere along with the quality of food being served, in order to attract new customers from within Knebworth as well as slightly further afield from the surrounding villages.
“It’s in my interest to help Becky and Lloyd run a highly successful pub in the village. Anything I can do that helps to boost their sales, is a benefit to the whole community.”
Attracting new custom from Knebworth and the surrounding villages as well as overcoming the poor reputation the old pub gained over previous years prior to closing down in February 2017, was always going to be paramount to the success of their new venture. Quality photographs on the Station website were required to play a large role in order to purvey the warm friendly atmosphere and the quality of gourmet food the newly opened pub was able to offer.
“With my years of experience working as the marketing photographer for Welcome Break and living only 150 yards from the pub, I felt I was in a unique position to be able to offer my services. Becky and Lloyd had put so much effort into the venture only to be knocked straight back down again before being given a chance to really get off the ground. I felt I was perfectly positioned to be able to help.”
Since the second reopening in June 2020, the Station Pub has seen a steady climb in sales due mainly from recommendations. The pub is fast gaining a reputation as one of the best village pubs in North Herts, offering one of the finest menus in the local area. Becky and Lloyd are looking forward to continue to grow the business providing local residents with a friendly and essential meeting, eating and drinking experience.
Visit the pub website here https://www.stationpubknebworth.com