World's first Weatherspoons museum to open in Wolverhampton hotel

Tom Mulvihill
A national Wetherspoons museum in Wolverhampton has been given the green light – and it's going to have a hotel too (picture: The Admiral of the Humber, Hull) - DAVID CALLAN

It’s a common sight on many a high street, and countless punters have passed across a vaguely sticky carpet to order one of its generally reasonably priced pints – but how well does the great British public really know Wetherspoons?

The pub chain is set to tell its story with a dedicated museum in Wolverhampton, exhibiting artefacts and memorabilia that have been accumulated throughout the 40 years since founder and chairman Tim Martin opened the first ‘Spoons’ in Muswell Hill in 1979.

The museum is likely to focus on the group's many lesser-known facts: each Wetherspoon pub, of which there are more than 900 across the UK and Ireland, has a unique carpet made by Axminster. Other claims to fame include a Guinness World record for the world’s largest-ever synchronised wine-tasting event in 2008 (17,540 people turned up, beating the previous record of 12,000 by some margin), while the group is also a regular trophy-winner in the annual Loo of the Year Awards.

Wolverhampton City Council has given its seal of approval to the £7-million plan, which also includes the proposal to build a 70-room hotel above the city’s only Wetherspoon pub, The Moon Under the Water (named after a 1946 essay in which George Orwell described his ideal public house).

Set on the ground floor of a 1930s Art Deco building on Lichfield Street, opposite the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, the pub’s current interior will be renovated and the whole operation will expand upwards, moving into 40,000 sq ft of space that has sat empty since the Co-Op Department Store moved out 30 years ago.

Wetherspoons is known to the British public for reasonably priced pints – not so much for its history Credit: RAFA ELIAS

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The project’s completion will see the West Midlands city become the home of the largest Wetherspoons outlet in the UK, a distinction that currently goes to Ramsgate in Kent (the pub in question being The Royal Pavilion).

The Moon Under the Water will also become the 59th Wetherspoon hotel since the company first started offering beds at the 22-room Shrewsbury Hotel in Shropshire.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "We believe this will be great for the pub, its customers and just as importantly the city itself.

"We also feel the museum will prove popular with people who want to know more of the history of the company and see artefacts from the past. The fact that Wetherspoon wishes to house it in Wolverhampton is positive for the city."

The company is yet to release details of what the museum will exhibit, although there is plenty of interesting Wetherspoons trivia to inspire the curators.