The White House pub has been the heart of the community in Bladon since 1663. The village backs onto the Blenheim Estate and is allegedly the place where Winston Church Hill learned to drink. Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, the family’s ancestral home in 1875 and is buried in Bladon churchyard with his family.
In September 2019 the White House went on the open market, but following a successful application to class The White House as an ‘Asset of Community Value’, the village then had six months to create a bid to buy and manage the pub. As UK pubs are closing at a rapid rate, for many reasons, there are currently over 100 pubs in the UK that have been taken over by their communities. Following months of fundraising, grant applications, and share purchases the community’s bid was accepted and the 450 shareholders were successful in their bid in May 2020.
SWJ Consultancy, who had worked with Pye Homes and Blenheim, were asked to look at the building and help design a new toilet block and a small extension to the pub. There was a well that needed to be dealt with that led to some last-minute changes to the foundation designs. The well sat on the line of the foundations for the gent’s toilets that urgently needed fixing. So, we filled the well with reject stone and capped it with concrete to make sure it was safe as we didn’t want to run the risk of it eventually collapsing in.