A RIVERSIDE pub in York which was swamped by floodwaters six months ago will finally reopen fully to customers on Friday night.

The Lowther’s lower bar, furnishings and equipment were wrecked when the River Ouse rose to its highest levels in 12 years last September, following torrential rain up in the Dales.

The pub's flood defences were breached and its pumps overwhelmed, flooding the bar to a depth of about one metre and also inundating the beer cellar, said landlord Shaun Binns. “It was horrendous,” he said.

He said the bar was flooded once more in November, and again in December, forcing the pub to shut over the lucrative Christmas and New Year period. While the upper bar had reopened at times over the six months, Mr Binns said the pub had lost a huge amount of trade.

This followed a very poor summer, when the pub’s outdoor eating and drinking area on the riverbank had been repeatedly flooded.

He said the total cost of the flooding had come to about £390,000, and while insurers had picked up the £250,000 bill for building repairs, a separate firm of insurers had gone into administration just before the remaining claim for £140,000 was submitted, and he had so far had to meet all of this bill.

He said workmen were yesterday completing the finishing touches to a massive refurbishment which would make the Lowther much more flood resilient in future.

The flood barriers would be raised to a higher level and pumps strengthened, and, if floodwaters did get in again, there were stone flagged floors and bare brick walls which could be quickly cleaned up after the waters had receded, allowing the pub to re-open within a week or so. Bar seating could also be quickly removed and taken to a higher place above the flood levels.

Now he was hoping for a dry, warm summer, which would attract all the regulars back as well as tourists.