THE BEETLE AND WEDGE
The Beetle and Wedge is a uniquely named pub on the bank of the river Thames near Moulsford. The name is derived from the tools that the woodmen in the area would have used to split felled trees into boards. The Beetle being a kind of mallet and the wedge, well a wedge. The pub itself has grown from a small boat house next to the ferry crossing used to transport the timber from one bank to the other. Those woodmen being in need of a pint after getting the lumber unloaded. PNW were invited to assist with the design and approvals required for this sensitive historic site.
The buildings on the site had built up over time and are comprised of the original boathouse, conservatory extensions overlooking the river and shingle roofed sheds containing kitchens and customer w.c’s.
The space within the building allocated as kitchen and back of house was over 50% of the buildings overall floor area. This proportion is unusually high. It would normally be expected that the kitchen and back of house areas should occupy around a third of the floor area. The interior layout was reorganised to create this better proportion of customer area to kitchen area. This was done by relocating the customer w.c’s to the rear of the premises and accessing these via a corridor extension.
Also as this pub had its origins as a working boathouse there was no proper cellar for the beer. Another extension close to the bar servery was proposed in the same style as the boarded sheds to become the cellar.
Lastly the proportion of customer area that was glazed conservatory was very high. Much of the roof was single glazed conservatory. Which made for an uncomfortably hot interior in the summer and the reverse in the winter. The proportion of the glazed roof was reduced so that the conservatory element remained overlooking the river but set back from this position the roof insulated and boarded to become a much more comfortable and cosy room.
The relevant planning permissions and approvals for The Beetle and Wedge were achieved just as the country entered lockdown for the covid crisis. The builder who had been gearing up with a full team to undertake the works stood down. After a period of lock down and reorganisation the works were started on site with a very small socially distanced contractor team. The contract period extended through the summer months with an opening achieved at the beginning of September.
As the location has a large river frontage this was enjoyed by customers through the end of the summer.