A HISTORIC pub where Dick Turpin is believed to have used a secret tunnel to evade police has been given a revamp.
The Elm Tree, in New Heston Road, Heston, has been given a fresh coat of paint by new manager Kay Patel, who has also spruced up the garden and created a shisha tent.
The inn's exact age is not known but regulars claim it dates back until at least the early 18th century, when Dick Turpin was at large.
Geoff Paul, who has been coming to the Elm Tree for more than 30 years, claims the highwayman had a hidden passageway to a now-demolished mansion on the other side of Vicarage Farm Road.
"It's rumoured he used to drink here and used the tunnel to make a quick getaway if police came looking for him at the pub," said the 52-year-old grandfather-of-two.
The Elm Tree is one of Hounslow's most historic pubs, especially with the number of closures in recent years.
The latest statistics from real ale campaigners CAMRA suggest 43 pubs closed in London alone during the six months to March, and Hounslow is no exception.
The Chronicle reported in February how the Duke of Wellington, in Staines Road, Hounslow, had been sold by brewers Greene King.
An application to demolish the Swan, in Hanworth's Swan Road, and replace it with 18 flats was submitted at the end of March, though the pub remains open.
Other pubs to have closed in recent years, include the Lord Palmerston, in Staines Road, Hounslow, now a Polish shop, and the North Star, in North Hyde Lane, Heston, which is set to become a Tesco Express.
However, Mr Patel is confident he can prevent the Elm Tree going the same way.
"Having been virtually dead a couple of months ago, things are really picking up, especially on football match nights, when we run promotions," he said.
"I'm just trying to keep the pub tradition alive because everybody's going to bars these days, or drinking cheap shop-bought alcohol at home."
CAMRA chief executive Mike Benner has blamed the growing number of pub closures on above-inflation beer duty increases.