A LANDMARK pub is undergoing a £50,000 refurbishment to return it to its Victorian splendour.

The Railway Hotel, in Clifftown Road, Southend, is being restored to reveal the grandeur of original features such as parquet flooring, mosaic tiles and oak panelling.

The refit, being overseen by its new manager, musician Dave Dulake, will also see the creation of a saloon bar with a grand bookcase, internet connection and thick velvet curtains to divide it from the public bar.

Mr Dulake said he wanted to recreate the old pub as a unique venue for live music of all kinds, as well as a space for artists.

He said: "It will be Bohemian, but well-run. It will be for piano lovers and also a family pub. We have an upright Bechstein grand piano and will host classical and jazz music nights.

"The pub will have a retro feel and we will be playing super 8 chromos films, as we have an old system to play them.

"It will also be a theatrical venue and we are working closely on this with South East Essex College."

Mr Dulake, 41, is a member of Southend band the Virgo Intacta, who opened for American rock stars the White Stripes on the London leg of their 2005 UK tour.

He said: "I wanted to do something different. There is a whole host of pubs offering tribute bands, but we aim to be more on the arty side.

"I know a lot of people in the music industry, but my band made the decision to stop trying to chase people in London.

"We have a lot of traditional gear, including a piano. It is such a mission to bring with you to a gig, so we have built up a following here in Southend.

"Southend is such a cool town and this pub will be the perfect base for us."

The Railway is expected to reopen in its new guise next month.