The Cheshire Lines pub in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

Southport town centre’s oldest pub, the Cheshire Lines Inn, is due to be taken over by new pub landlords. 

Award-winning landlords Neil Walsh and Tom Hodgin, who already run The Windmill on Seabank Road, took over the running of the venue in October. 

But they have reluctantly decided to hand back the keys to the pub “with a heavy heart” as they blame the “crippling staff crisis” affecting the hospitality industry which has made it difficult for them to recruit the top quality chefs they needed for the venue to thrive. 

The Cheshire Line Inn  on King Street, owned by Star Pubs & Bars, is over 200 years old and is officially Grade II Listed. 

It first opened in 1817 – two years after the Battle of Waterloo – and was originally called The Cross Keys Inn. The building behind the Cheshire Lines was called The Horse & Jockey.

It changed its name to The Cheshire Lines in around 1890 and was officially Grade II Listed in 1972. 

Neil and Tom will continue to run the thriving Windmill pub which was named as a finalist in the Pub Of The Year category in the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards for the past two years in a row. 

They said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to hand back the keys to The Cheshire Lines.

“As many of you will know, we have struggled since opening to recruit suitable chefs with the passion and care to produce quality food that you have come to know and love as operators of our other pub The Windmill.

The Cheshire Lines pub in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

The Cheshire Lines pub in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

“At the moment our industry is in a crippling staffing crisis and unfortunately we cannot split ourselves or our staff in two and we are mindful of the mental impact this is having on ourselves, our family and our team.

“Whilst we have only had The Cheshire Lines a short time we are so proud of what we have already achieved, reintroducing karaoke, serving quality ales and drinks, slowly building the food service, a welcoming atmosphere and sorting out many issues and problems that are behind the scenes.

“We hope we have left it in a better situation than we found it.

“The good news is that a new operator has been found to carry on running one of Southport’s oldest pubs.

“We wish them every success in these current times.

“As we prepare to make the transition there are some adjustments to opening hours we will be making.

Monday & Tuesday – Closed

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – As normal

“We will then be closed from Saturday 25th March with the new operators expected to open on Friday 31st March.

“We kindly ask you to keep any speculative comments to yourself and respect our decision and also the feelings of our staff.

“Lastly from myself, Tom and my staff at both The Cheshire Lines and The Windmill we thank you for your support and your friendship.

“You can continue to find us at The Windmill.”

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