THE general manager of a historic Southend pub admits the coronavirus pandemic led to him fearing for the establishment’s future.

The Railway has been serving the seaside town since 1872, but the Covid-19 outbreak led to the pub being shut for a number of months.

Although the Clifftown Road boozer has reopened, opening hours have been limited due to ongoing government guidelines.

James Vessey-Miller admits it has been difficult guiding the historic pub through these tough times.

He said: “It has been very difficult and we have feared for the future.

“We have had to keep a close eye on how things have been going.


Hoping for a bright future following the pandemic - the Railway’s managers and owners

“At first we had to close our doors, but since reopening we have seen only an eighth of the usual capacity returning.

“It’s been very challenging and stressful and, I must admit, the future of the business has been touch and go at times.

“But we are still here and open, so we are hoping for a bright future once again.”

Despite the difficulties, the Railway remained shut for a brief period despite the government confirming pubs were allowed to reopen in July.

Mr Vessey-Miller insists the delay in welcoming punters was due to ensuring the Railway met new guidelines put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.


He added: “We spent a lot of time making sure we would not have any safety problems and people could come back to the Railway safely.

“We were shut throughout July even though other pubs reopened so that we could double down.

“The health and safety of our customers and staff is the priority, so we didn’t want to rush into reopening.”

The Railway has been known as a bustling music venue for a number of years.

However, social distancing guidelines mean the number of gigs hosted at the Railway have had to be limited.


Historic - the Railway has been located in Southend since 1872

The lack of musicians heading to the Railway has come as a blow.

Mr Vessey-Miller admitted: “We are one of the last live music venues and we would normally have one band on stage every day.

“Now, because of the pandemic, we only have one band every week.

“It’s difficult for the musicians as well because it means they are unable to showcase their talent.

“Although we continue to serve vegan food people want to see the bands because we are a live music venue.

“There is a knock-on effect as we are taking less money than usual.”

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