9 Dec: Welcome To Wetherspoons

Now a 900 strong pub chain, with an annual turnover of £1.6 billion, J.D. Wetherspoon is a big name on the British high street. But when entrepreneur Tim Martin flung open the doors of the first branch in London’s Muswell Hill on 9th December, 1979, it was known as ‘Tim’s Free House’ – and closed down on its opening night.

He built up the business by taking over leases at old buildings such as churches and cinemas, and converting them into pubs – meaning they weren’t tied to any particular brewery, guaranteeing lower prices for customers. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly interrogate Martin’s ‘man of the people’ image, reveal why Wetherspoon’s famous carpets are so expensive; and ask if the ‘paltry chip count’ meme explains why they came off social media…

Further Reading:

• How Wetherspoon’s Conquered Britain (Esquire, 2018): https://www.esquire.com/uk/food-drink/a19129642/how-wetherspoons-conquered-britain/

• ‘Did Wetherspoons See The Pandemic Coming?’ (Channel 5, 2021):

• ‘Wetherspoons Paltry Chip Count: How the counting chips page went sour’ (JOE.co.uk, 2021): https://www.joe.co.uk/uncategorized/inside-the-wetherspoons-paltry-chip-count-how-the-last-wholesome-corner-of-facebook-turned-sour-303164

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