Landlady calls time on Stratford pub that has been her home for 50 years

Jan Dooner, landlady of the Railway Tavern Hotel in Stratford.

Jan Dooner, landlady of the Railway Tavern Hotel in Stratford. - Credit: Archant

A landlady has pulled her last pint after calling time on the pub she has called home for more than 50 years.

Jan Dooner, 63, and husband, Tom, also 63, retired from The Railway Tavern Hotel, in Angel Lane, Stratford, yesterday

The pair plan to spend more time with their grandchildren, work on their house and travel in their free time.

“I was a bit teary,” said Jan of her decision to call last orders on the pub she has lived in from the age of 11 when her parents ran it.

Jan became the landlady when she was 30.

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She said: “I came here when I was 11 so it’s been a huge, huge part of my life.

“I am holding it together at the moment but when I drive out I may have a tear.”

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During their four decades at the Tavern, the Dooners have seen Stratford transform from a sleepy railway backyard into an international tourist destination for the London 2012 Games.

“We have got lovely memories of the Olympics, it was absolutely amazing,” Jan said.

“I had gold medalists in here and athletes from Canada, Poland, South Africa, Australia and Kazakhstan.

“During the opening and closing ceremonies, we were staying open 24 hours a day and we partied all night.”

The mum-of-two has also witnessed numerous birthdays, christenings and weddings - including her own.

“Most people get to go out through a front door [on their wedding day], I went out through a saloon door,” she said laughing.

Jan and Tom relaunched their business as a nine-bedroom ensuite hotel in 2005 and have received rave online reviews ever since.

A farewell bash attended by 200 friends, regulars and well-wishers on Saturday is testament to the couple’s popularity with the Stratford community.

Jan said she has made many lifelong friends and will miss the spontaneity of the job.

“Every day is different and is never the same,” she said. “You can never every say who is going to walk through that door.”

Paul Feeney of Stratford Halls has now taken over the management of the Railway Tavern.

To get in touch with him call 020 8534 3123.

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