Cross Keys in Gainford, near Darlington, is opening with a young landlord

The new landlord of The Cross Keys in Gainford, near Darlington, Louis Jerrom, celebrated his christening at the historic pub and even held his 18th birthday party there.

Louis, who believes he will become Britain’s youngest male publican, had always dreamed of running his own pub but wanted to do his masters and doctorate after completing his philosophy degree.

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But when the opportunity to take over his local bar arose, he couldn’t turn it down.

Louis said: “I’ve always wanted to own a pub since I started here when I was 15, but it’s a pretty tricky thing.

“The plan was to get my degree, masters and doctorate, become a professor and own a pub on the side.

The Northern Echo: Louis outside his drink.Louis before his alcohol. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“That was the dream, but by chance the local man was looking for a new owner.

“The owners said they would like to take me on.”

Louis began collecting glasses at the age of 15 and worked shifts at The Cross Keys when he returned home from university in Stirling.

He now believes he is Britain’s youngest male landlord.

In May, Rheanna Geraghty was given the keys to the Waggon and Horses in Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire, aged 18, having herself just reached the legal drinking age. She is believed to be the youngest landlady in the UK, but Louis believes he is the youngest man to own a pub at 22.

In High Wycombe, two male publicans aged 24 and 26 have bought a portfolio of three pubs, the Bucks Free Press reported in July.

The Northern Echo: The Cross Keys reopened on Friday.Cross Keys reopened Friday. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

Louis got the keys at the end of August and gave the place a new coat of paint and bought new furniture. He moved in himself earlier this week.

“I think I should be excited but I’m definitely nervous at the moment,” Louis told The Northern Echo.

“I just want everyone to enjoy what I did.

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“The response was outrageous. People from the village came to help with the renovation.”

The inn reopened on Friday (September 8) at 7 p.m.

The Cross Keys initially don’t serve food while Louis focuses on attracting more customers. Cross Keys in Gainford, near Darlington, is opening with a young landlord

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