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40 Years of Growth and Innovation

Tim Martin opened the very first 'Wetherspoon', in Muswell Hill, north London, back in 1979. Today, Tim and the company run over 950 pubs, spread right across the UK.

During this 40-year history, the company has repeatedly led the way with ground-breaking initiatives, picked up hundreds of awards (covering all aspects of pub life) and grown from a handful of staff to over 30,000 employees.

Above: Second from right, John Hutson, chief executive, when he was an area manager, celebrating the opening of the 50th Wetherspoon pub - J.J. Moon's, Chiswick.

Tim Martin opened his first 'Wetherspoon' pub, in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1979. Today, Wetherspoon boasts 950 free houses, spanning the length and breadth of the UK, with plans to expand that total to 1,000 in the next five years.

Forward-thinking and innovation have marked this sustained growth, with Wetherspoon repeatedly winning recognition for initiatives which have benefited its customers and, in many cases, led to transformation across the wider pub world.

Wetherspoon was the first pub company to serve food throughout the day, something which is taken for granted these days, but was truly ground-breaking back in 1990 – as, indeed, was the decision, in 2002, to open all of its pubs from 10am for breakfast.

Other milestones include: in 1993, becoming the first pub company to open non-smoking areas of no less than 25% of the total public area; in 2001, being recognised as the UK’s fastest-growing company and the ninth fastest in Europe; in 2007, investing £15m in a new, company-wide drinks-dispensing system to serve super-chilled lager, as well as wine, at the perfect temperature – another first for the pub industry.

To find out more, please read our 30-year special anniversary supplement.