J D Wetherspoon plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSE: JDW
Industry Hospitality industry
Founded 1979
Founder Tim Martin
Headquarters Watford, United Kingdom
Number of locations
956 pubs[1]
Key people
Tim Martin (Chairman)
John Hutson (CEO)
Products Public houses and hotels
Revenue £1,513.9 million (2015)[2]
£112.5 million (2015)[2]
Profit £44.8 million (2015)[2]
Number of employees
35,000 (2016)[3]
Website www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk

J D Wetherspoon plc, branded as Wetherspoon and popularly known as Wetherspoons, is a pub chain in Great Britain and Ireland, with its headquarters in Watford. Founded in 1979 by Tim Martin, the company owns just under 1,000 outlets. The chain's pubs offer cask ale, low prices, long opening hours, and no music. The company also operates the Lloyds No.1 chain of bars, as well as Wetherspoon Hotels.

The chain is known for converting unconventional premises into pubs. Premises tend to be large by British pub standards, and use an open plan layout.[4]

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington

Tim Martin opened his first pub in 1979, on Colney Hatch Lane in Muswell Hill, north London.[5] Many of the other early Wetherspoon pubs were also in the western part of Haringey. The J D Wetherspoon name comes from one of Martin's teachers in New Zealand who could not control his class.[6][7][8]

Martin chose the name when he was running his first pub in Muswell Hill. "I decided to call it Wetherspoon's after a former teacher – not because the teacher in question at my primary school in New Zealand had said I would never make it, as some people think, but because he was too nice a fellow to be running our particular class and he couldn't control it. So I thought: I can't control the pub, he couldn't control the class, so I'll name it after him."[9]

In the early 1990s, Wetherspoon began a policy of routinely selling off its smaller or less profitable outlets, often—but not always—replacing them with larger premises close by. There are now around 100 ex-Wetherspoon pubs, and none of the earliest outlets in the chain are still part of the estate. The oldest surviving Wetherspoon is The Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington, opened in 1983.[10]

In 1998, Wetherspoon introduced oversized glasses and promoted the "full pint".[11] This initiative was soon withdrawn, supposedly because customers were still asking for top-ups, but arguably because other pub chains did not follow its lead.[12]

In 2015, Wetherspoon was made to pay a total of £24,000 for "direct racial discrimination" to eight individuals who were refused admittance to one of its pubs in north London based on what a judge described as "the stereotypical assumption that Irish travellers and English gypsies cause disorder wherever they go".[13]

Food and drink

Wetherspoon claimed to be "the only large pub firm which opens all its pubs early in the morning", serving breakfast and coffee as well as a full food menu into the evening.[14] Weekly food promotions include Mexican Monday, Steak club (Tuesday), Wing it Wednesday (Chicken club), Curry Club (Thursday) and Fish Friday. The Sunday Club (traditional Sunday roasts) promotion was dropped in March 2016.[15]

Wetherspoon hosts two Ale Festivals in March/April and October each year (when a larger range of guest ales is available in each pub) and a Cider Festival in the summer.[16]

Properties and operations

Beckett's Bank in Leeds, its name reflecting the building's former use
The Picturedrome in Liverpool, a converted cinema

Many Wetherspoon pubs are conversions of existing buildings, including:

Consequently, many Wetherspoon properties are listed buildings.[17]

There are Wetherspoon bars in the passenger terminals of many UK airports, such as Robin Hood Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, London Gatwick, London Stansted and London Heathrow and in several main railway stations including London Victoria, London Liverpool Street, London Cannon Street, Leeds and Liverpool Lime Street.[18]

In 2013, the chain opened its 900th pub.[1]

Wetherspoon pioneered non-smoking areas in pubs – even before the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Health Act 2006 in England and Wales introduced smoking bans in public houses – and started converting some of its pubs to completely non-smoking in 2005 before introducing a complete ban in 2006.[19][20]

The first Wetherspoon's pub in Ireland was The Spinning Mill in Ballymena, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland, which opened in 2000. The Republic of Ireland's first Wetherspoon pub, The Three Tun Tavern, opened in Blackrock, County Dublin, in 2014.[21][22][23]

In 2014, Wetherspoon controversially opened a pub at the Beaconsfield motorway service area on the M40.[24]

Wetherspoon also owns a chain of hotels in the UK. As of 2015, there are 34 hotels in England, Wales and Scotland. In 2014, it was reported that the company would open a pub and 100-room hotel in Camden Street, Dublin, Ireland.[25]

In 2015, Wetherspoon bought the Grade II* Listed Art Deco State Cinema in Grays, Essex which had been under threat of damage from vandalism and water ingress for a number of years.[26]

Every Wetherspoon pub has a unique carpet, drawing on the location, building and name. They are produced by Axminster Carpets and, having more than the usual six colours, have to be partially handmade on old fashioned looms, costing up to £30,000 – twice as much as stock designs.[27]

Mags Thomson, 66, from Livingston, Scotland, has visited every Wetherspoon in Great Britain, from 1994 to October 2015, when she had visited 972, including 80 that have subsequently closed.[28]


John Hutson is the chief executive, with total annual remuneration of £758,000 in 2009, consisting of a £364,000 base salary and a £394,000 bonus, plus other income.[29]


  1. 1 2 "JD Wetherspoon To Open 900th Pub Next Week". Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 "Annual Results 2015" (PDF). J D Wetherspoon. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  3. "J D Wetherspoon Pubs & Hotels – Our People". jdwetherspoon.co.uk. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  4. Martin, Tim (14 September 2012). "Good News Britain: We're putting the 'pub' in 'public'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  5. "Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet". Property News. Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  6. Refurb for Tim Martin's first outlet Morning Advertiser, 1 September 2005
  7. The Real Pub Landlord The Observer, 3 March 2002
  8. "The real pub landlord | Business | The Observer". London: Guardian. 3 March 2002. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  9. I'll tell you what's wrong with Wetherspoon's – it's run by a man named Tim, Will Self, New Statesman, 1 March 2013
  10. Indicia - www.indicia.com (1983-05-01). "The Rochester Castle | Our Pubs". J D Wetherspoon. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  11. "The Investment Column: Wetherspoon dips in growth glitch". Business, News. London: The Independent. 1998-03-11. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  12. "Full Pint Issue 6". CAMRA North London. 2002-08-28. Archived from the original on June 4, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
  13. "Pub chain pays damages over traveller race bias". London Evening Standard. 18 May 2015. p. 10.
  14. "Wetherspoon toasts record sales". BBC News. 11 September 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  15. "Quality Food, Great Value – Food Menu – J D Wetherspoon". jdwetherspoon.co.uk. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  16. "Wetherspoons spring festival focuses on British hops". Cask Marque. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  17. Woodger, Andrew (2 July 2010). "Suffolk to get Wetherspoon's pub". BBC News.
  18. "First look: See inside the new £2 million North Western pub at Lime Street". Liverpool Echo. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  19. "Wetherspoon pubs ban smoking". BBC News. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  20. Tran, Mark (24 January 2005). "Wetherspoon pubs to ban smoking". guardian.co.uk. London. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  21. "Open for business: Wetherspoon's first Irish pub serves its first customers". The Journal. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  22. Ciarán Hancock (June 30, 2014). "Guinness pulled from menu at Wetherspoon's Blackrock pub". The Irish Times.
  23. "Video: First look inside Ireland's first Wetherspoon pub". Independent.ie. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  24. "JD Wetherspoon opens first motorway pub". The Independent. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  25. "JD Wetherspoon to open hotel, bar at homeless hostel in Dublin". The Irish Times. 15 December 2014.
  26. "State Cinema set to become a Wetherspoons pub". Thurrock Gazette. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  27. The secret life of Wetherspoon’s freaky carpets The Guardian 10 January 2016
  28. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34440109
  29. "John Hutson: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 23 August 2009.

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