The longest serving publican in Wakefield, Shaun Slater, has received an award in recognition of his dedication to the trade.

 

Shaun, who runs the Black Rock in the city, has been in the trade for more than 40 years – and has run the Black Rock for two decades.

He was only 14 years old when he started a stocking job at the Black Rock in 1981, and the 51 year old has now clocked up a further four decades behind the bar.

The award from Star Pubs & Bars has been given in honour of his contribution to the community during his time at the pub.

Shaun's mum worked in the pub as the cleaner, meaning family ties to the Black Rock go even further than 1981.

He said: "I began here as a way to earn a bit of pin money. After leaving school I went on to work as The Black Rock's trainee manager and then to manage pubs for other people but I always continued to do shifts at The Black Rock.

"I worked at over 50 pubs across Yorkshire, but The Black Rock was always my favourite. When it became available in 1998, I jumped at the chance to take it as my own."

Named after Yorkshire's coal mining past, the Grade II-listed Black Rock dates back to 1842, and is one of the city centre's last remaining traditional pubs.

It offers no sports or hot food and is known for its beer and chat - as well as an extensive range of snacks.

Shaun said: "I've seen many pubs and bars open and close and trends come and go in Wakefield since I took over, but I liked the Black Rock as it was when I started and I've kept it as similar as possible.

"It's like stepping back in time; other than a new gin range and a greater choice of beers – we've got six casks on hand-pull now, and when I started we only had two - nothing else much has changed."

He also said that he would like to remain the pub's licensee for "another 20 years" – and has already served three generations of some families.

"I'm passionate about The Black Rock and its reputation – it's like home and a lot of my customers are like family."