You may have noticed over the past year The Malt Shovel public house has been sporting ‘to let’ signs and banners on its walls.
Whilst unfortunately not an uncommon sight in these hard economic times, The Malt Shovel is far from closed.
Currently managed by Loraine Stewart the town pub is going strong and still offers what it has become known for, a good selection of real ales, live music with locally grown musical talent and good honest pub grub.
Originally known as the ‘Michell Arms’ (built in 1901), the building actually stood immediately in front of the where the Malt Shovel is today. It was demolished in 1938 for the widening of Springfield Road.
The original name was taken from the Michell brewery owned by local business man Henry Michell.
Henry Michell (1809-1874) originally from Steyning, bought the Carfax ‘Fountain brewery’ after he made a success of managing a rival brewery in West Street, aptly named ‘The West Street Brewery’.
Why the now Malt Shovel was the only pub to carry his name, we don’t know, however the big question now is was the pub name pronounced ‘The Michelle Arms’ or ‘The Mitchell Arms’, answers on a postcard.
With a new fresh 1930’s look the pub was split into two bars, public and snug, If you look carefully you can still see the hidden entrances either side of the building currently masked by menu boards.
The Michell Arms continued its name for many years until the Michell family sold the pub.
A new name then emerged, ‘Hogs Head and Malt Shovel’ and with it a new Landlord, Mr Steven Williams. The pub continued to thrive as a traditional local and carved a reputation for its well kept locally brewed real ales and great live music.
Sadly Steve passed away in 2005 which left an obvious void in the pubs character and charm, however the management kept calm and carried on serving its loyal locals and providing the famous live band nights. The efforts of the staff and management were laudable however in 2012 the decision was made to put the pub up for let and on went the signs and banners.
For the interim period Loraine has been brought in as bar Manager and has strived to get the pub back on the map. Her hard work and determination has not gone unnoticed as in March she received an industry inspection report praising her and her team.
More recently the ‘to let’ signs have disappeared and brand new plush pub signage has replaced the tired older versions, does this mean a new owner is to arrive?
Guess we’ll have to wait and see.