If Percy French had ever written about this pub, there’s only one title which would fit:

The Star of the County Down

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Do you remember the Brook Cottage Hotel?

Today the Davey family owns The Maghera Inn, but they have a long tradition of providing hospitality in the Newcastle area. You see, before moving out to Maghera, they ran the lovely Brook Cottage Hotel, or The Brook as it was known, on Bryansford Road Newcastle, for many years.

The house dated from the late 1700s or early 1800s and at one stage during the early 1900s it was the home of Richard Valentine Williams, who wrote poetry, plays and stories under the pen-name of Richard Rowley. Indeed, he produced some of his best work there. But most local people will remember it as Brook Cottage Hotel, a bastion of hospitality and warm welcomes through some of the darkest years in this country’s history.  The hotel was bombed several times during the 1970s but always bounced back into service as quickly as possible. In fact, a report in the Down Recorder, July 27, 1976 tells us:

‘The bomb-damaged Brook Cottage Hotel in Newcastle has already reopened its doors for business. The business-as-usual signs went up only hours after the lounge had been extensively damaged by a 10lb bomb. The owner, Mr Hugh Davey, hopes to have the premises back in perfect shape as soon as possible and already workmen have been called in.’

After 30 years in business, the Davey family sold The Brook as a going concern and two years later it was again sold and demolished to make way for the Brooklands housing development. But it’s good to know that the genial hospitality that made it such a success lives on in the Davey-run Maghera Inn, under the welcoming hand of Hugh and Anne’s son, Matthew.