Pauline is queen of the ‘Royal Family’ after 25 years at Sheffield pub

Pauline Boswell, the licensee of the Royal Hotel in Woodhouse celebrates 25 years at the pub, Sheffield, United Kingdom on 24 October 2018. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Pauline Boswell, the licensee of the Royal Hotel in Woodhouse celebrates 25 years at the pub, Sheffield, United Kingdom on 24 October 2018. Photo by Glenn Ashley.

A Sheffield publican is celebrating 25 years behind the bar at a Woodhouse pub which has thrived as others have struggled and closed.

Pauline Boswell has been the landlady at The Royal Hotel in Woodhouse since November 3, 1993, taking over the pub when she was just 38-years-old.

Now 63, she has just been presented with a long service award by brewery Star Pubs and Bars as a thank you for her devotion to the pub and its loyal clientele.

She puts their success down to maintaining high standards - as evidenced by their spotless premises the morning after a big function - and a loyal and committed team of ten staff.

But as well as its cleanliness and long-serving staff, it is the fact that it is so valued by its regulars that has made it such a vital part of the Woodhouse community.

“It is just a place where people come to socialise and we are like one big family - or ‘the Royal Family’ as regulars know it,” said Pauline.

“The customers are more like your friends than customers - if someone is not here people start asking if they are ok.”

Pauline said the pub had a poor reputation when she first arrived, and she initially wasn’t sure she would last 25 days, let alone 25 years.

But her ‘no-nonsense’ attitude and hard work turned the pub around and established it as a place for people to come together – a role it still fills today.

The big pub has a traditional part where photos of the 18th century pub adorn the walls and a more relaxed side with a pool table and Sky Sports.

However, as well as the bricks and mortar of the pub itself, the Royal also organise lots of social events, have several fishing teams and even a golf society.

“The fishing club has been her longer than me,” said Pauline.

“It is not just a place where people come and drink, it is a proper community hub.”

Pauline’s loyal team of ten staff are also an important part of the ‘Royal Family’, with bartender Pauline Kennedy having worked at the pub for 22 years and Keeley Browse racking up 16 years.

And, over the last few years, the pub have collectively raised more the £11,000 for Children in Need, as well as fundraising for many other good causes including Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Awards adorn the bar including Pauline’s recently awarded long service certificate and a Publican of the Year award won in 2015 - and the Royal is also currently down to the final six in the brewery’s Best Bar Team award.

Reflecting on her time at the Royal, Pauline said the last 25 years haven’t always been easy, but she loves it and that is what keeps her there.

“It is a way of life really. Times have changed and pubs have closed,” she said.

“But I don’t feel 63 and I’ve no plans to retire yet. I will carry on while I can.”