This was on the evening of Saturday 31st August 1996. In those days it was a Beefeater which suited us perfectly as we're quite partial to a steak with our evening's lager! As I recall it was a classic Beefeater of that period - inside it was a maze of different levels meaning that, although the place was quite busy, you felt as though you were the only customers there, not being able to see the 'big picture' of the restaurant layout.
On that visit we didn't venture forth into Christleton, an omission we've remedied in subsequent years. We didn't revisit The Old Trooper until 2012. This trip was the first canal venture since we'd sold Emma Jane and was our first experience of hiring a narrowboat. Our starting point was the Anglo Welsh hire base at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal and we visited Christleton, again on the way out of Chester.
This was at lunchtime on Wednesday 11th April 2012. We'd had lunch at the Ring o' Bells in the village, but decided to revisit The Old Trooper for a last pint of the session for old time's sake. And what a transformation! I still find it amazing that some pubs hardly change over the years whilst some have a complete makeover (sometimes more than once)! Outside the building itself is largely unchanged in shape, but the decoration is somewhat different. Inside, it is nothing like it was 16 years ago. Now it is completely open and all on one level (apart from a couple of steps up at the back).
As I recall, Beefeater were owned by Whitbread (still are, Ed) and Harvester are owned by Mitchells & Butlers, so there has obviously been a bit of property dealing in the intervening 16 years since our last visit! It was very difficult to see if it was still called The Old Trooper, but the name is just visible beneath the green Harvester pole sign (on the left of the picture), but on their website the name is much more prominent.