Work begins on The Strawberry Thief in Swindon

Arkell's new £4 million pub in Tadpole Garden Village will open in 2022.

Arkell’s Brewery has celebrated breaking ground at the site of their new pub in Tadpole Garden Village, Swindon and unveiled the name - ‘The Strawberry Thief’.

George Arkell, Managing Director at Arkell’s Brewery, was joined by Craig Morton of Edmont, and local MP, Justin Tomlinson to mark this exciting moment at the Tadpole village pub site.  Justin Tomlinson turned the first sod to officially start the work for Arkell’s new four million-pound pub which is due to open in 2022.

Justin Tomlinson commented, “Having represented this field for 21 years as both councillor and MP, I’m absolutely thrilled that I was able to put the spade in the ground to start the build of this fantastic new community facility.  The growing Tadpole Farm and neighbouring communities are very excited to see these works begin, so it is with huge thanks, yet again, to the Arkell’s family for backing and investing in Swindon.  I have no doubt this new pub will be a huge success.” 

George Arkell said, “We’re really excited to finally be starting this project and it’s wonderful to have our MP along to formally commence the work.  It has been a long and very challenging year for us all and it is fabulous for us to be able to look forwards not backwards. The Strawberry Thief is the biggest project we have undertaken in years. The Tadpole community have been really supportive and encouraging as it has taken a long time to actually start construction on site.  We are immensely proud to be investing in Swindon; it’s our home town and we can’t wait to see the build take shape and evolve into a fantastic neighbourhood pub.”



Unveiling the name ‘The Strawberry Thief’, George Arkell explained how it was a nod to a William Morris textile design from 1883, which features the thrushes that Morris found stealing fruit in his kitchen garden of his countryside home, Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire.  The William Morris theme runs through Tadpole Garden Village with street names and the school named after the famous British textile designer.

The pub has been designed by Clark & Maslin, an Architectural Practice based in Malmesbury, and Concorde BGW Group.  Ian Maslin from Clark and Maslin said, “enormous thought and effort has gone into the design, layout and fenestration so the building compliments the existing setting of the Tadpole village. Natural materials have been used throughout to provide a sustainable building that will stand the testament of time. We hope the pub will achieve a balance between being a destination pub and neighbourhood pub; it will feature open fires, a welcoming bar and a fantastic garden overlooking the village green and cricket pitch. The project has been a long time coming with the interruption of the pandemic but it’s great news that work has finally commenced on this very exciting project.”

Edmont Ltd, who are another local Swindon firm, will be responsible for the construction. Edmont are a highly experienced contractor with over 50 years’ experience in construction, fit-out, joinery and M&E, and a longstanding partner of Arkell’s having worked together on a number of projects throughout the years.

Craig Morton, Managing Director at Edmont Ltd, said of the project, “This will be the fourth new build public house Edmont have undertaken for Arkell’s and we are proud to be involved in creating exciting new spaces for the local community.”

Arkell’s Brewery was established in 1843 by John Arkell. Arkell’s is Swindon’s oldest business and one of just 29 family breweries left in the UK.  Arkell’s has 178 years in the brewery business and has four members of the Arkell’s family still remaining: Chairman James Arkell; his cousin Nick Arkell, Head of Sales, and James’ sons George, and Alex Arkell are Managing Director and Head Brewer respectively.

The Arkell family work at the brewery alongside generations of other local families, brewing real ale and looking after nearly 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. Arkell’s ales include Award-winning beers such as Wiltshire Gold, 3Bs, and Hoperation IPA. Special ales are brewed regularly, with Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, keeping the art of craft ale alive, offering drinkers new tastes and flavours all hand made in their brewery.