In the final week of the Christmas holidays, the Students Union has finally released a statement confirming that the College have completed the purchase of ‘The Monkey’s Forehead’ – the pub on the A30 leading to the main gates of Royal Holloway. After months of rumours, they acknowledged that ‘it may not come as a surprise to many of you’, but ‘the college has taken the opportunity to purchase the lease’.
This exciting news has been long in the running; it was over six months ago that it became apparent that the current owner was wishing to sell the establishment, which has been one of the most popular student haunts in Egham for many years. The college have bought the venue and has handed it over to the SU, with the intention to continue operating it as a pub, ensuring the services are retained and ‘to prevent the loss of a popular space for students’.
Whilst the SU are still in the process of the detailed planning phase, it has been confirmed that the venue will be renamed ‘The Packhorse’, which was the original name of the pub in the 1800s. In the official statement from the SU, which was released online on January 6, they stated that it will be opening in March, either at the end of Term 2 or at the beginning of Term 3, depending on how long the refurbishment takes. The SU states that there will be an exciting grand opening to celebrate the occasion, and from then on it will be open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for students and residents to enjoy alike.
‘The Packhorse’ will continue to appeal to the student population of Egham, offering high quality food at student prices. Although they claim the menu will be changed slightly, do not fear, the famous ‘Monkey’s’ breakfast is to remain, and will be renamed ‘The Monkey’s Breakfast’ in honour of the popularity of the dish.
The venue is going to operate as a ‘not-for-profit social enterprise’. Neither the College, or the Student’s Union, will make a massive return; the SU openly claims the profit-budget ratio will only just be breaking even over the next three years. As with other on-campus student venues, ‘The Packhorse’ will be run by student staff, ‘creating more part time jobs on campus and putting more money back into your pockets’, benefiting our student community.
Furthermore, the venue is planning to expand, and the SU has claimed that they are investigating the possibility of utilising the unused space upstairs. The College and SU are working to identify how these areas could be refurbished for use by students, student groups, College staff and other members of the local community.
After months of speculation, it is good to know that the beloved Egham pub will remaining as one of the most popular student venues.
The SU want to hear from students, to ensure that it continues to be popular location for Royal Holloway students, and members of the local community. The official statement can be read online, following the link below, and feedback to ‘Shape its Future’ is to be posted here;